Voting Rights

Voting Rights

Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

PW special report: Restoring hope in the vote among those with felony convictions in North Carolina

More than 50,000 North Carolinians can vote this fall thanks to a court ruling that restored the rights of people on probation and parole. But their gains are precarious. One hot afternoon in early October, Corey Purdie helped put the finishing touches on the exterior of the 300-square-foot house at Broad and Queen streets in New Bern, North Carolina.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

Voting rights groups seek to rally public opinion on potentially momentous NC gerrymandering case

Republican lawmakers have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to end state court oversight of federal elections and pro-democracy advocates are pushing back  It’s a pending U.S. Supreme Court case about the control of elections, a subject most people don’t think about every day. But Moore vs. Harper has become a rallying cry for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Common Cause NC and other voting rights groups...

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

Disenfranchised no more, ‘Second Chance voters’ can register and cast ballots — for now

Allowing those on probation and parole to vote marks the largest expansion of voting rights in North Carolina since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Daquan Peters didn’t waste any time registering to vote on Wednesday. He hadn’t been fast enough last year, during a 10-day window between court proceedings where people like him, those who were home after spending time imprisoned for a felony but still on probation or parole, were briefly re-enfranchised.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

Election officials risk criminal charges under 31 new GOP-imposed penalties

Since the 2020 election, Iowa has enacted one new felony and two new misdemeanor offenses targeting election officials. The state’s omnibus election law, passed in 2021, criminalizes election officials who fail to perform their duties, don’t adequately maintain voter lists, or interfere with other people performing their duties in or near a polling place. The first offense carries a potential five years in prison.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

Criminalizing the vote: GOP-led states enacted 102 new election penalties after 2020

During the 2020 election, Rhonda Briggins and her sorority sisters spent days providing voters in metro Atlanta with water and snacks as they waited in long lines at polling places. The lines for early voting and on Election Day at times stretched on for hours. As the national co-chair for social action with the Delta Sigma Theta sorority for Black women, Briggins felt compelled to help, and she and her sisters unofficially adopted one DeKalb County location where many elderly Georgians cast their ballots.

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Defending Democracy News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

State elections board rejects NC GOP signature matching request for absentee ballots 

The NC Board of Elections, in a 3-2 party line vote, rejected state Republicans’ request for signature verification on absentee ballots.   Republicans wanted local elections officials to be able to compare voters’ signatures on their registration cards against signatures on requests for absentee ballots and on the returned ballots. 

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Radio Interviews

Southern Coalition for Social Justice co-executive director Allison Riggs discusses the potential impact of Moore v. Harper


In Moore vs. Harper, the GOP lawmakers advance the truly frightening idea that state courts have, effectively, no authority to review the legality of decisions that state legislatures make when it comes to federal elections.Southern Coalition for Social Justice co-executive director and chief counsel for Voting Rights Allison Riggs discusses the implications of the pending case.

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Original Commentary Top Story Weekly Briefing

The legislature heads home – now what?

The North Carolina General Assembly brought its 2022 “short session” to a close last week. Well, at least, it kinda’ sorta’ did. Unlike in decades gone by in which the legislature generally adjourned in early summer, not to return until the following year, the current leadership on Jones Street prefers to keep the state’s supposedly part-time lawmakers yoyoing back and forth to the state capital. And so it is that the adjournment resolution approved by both houses last week...

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The NC GOP’s copycat crusade against voting rights continues

It’s a familiar childhood scene – perhaps even from your own. A group of cool, older kids engages in some kind of rebellious action or expresses a shared opinion on an issue of perceived import and soon thereafter, a younger sibling or friend, trying hard to keep up, attempts to mimic their behavior or statements. The younger kid never gets it quite right, or often, even fully grasps the substance of the subject matter, and their behavior will likely be barely acknowledged by the older ones...

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

Florida gave voting rights to people with felony convictions. Now some face charges for voting.

Florida authorities arrested a Black man while he was staying in a homeless shelter and charged him with voting illegally in a case tied to Republicans’ drive to root out election fraud. But Kelvin Bolton’s arrest raises questions about the rollout of Amendment 4, passed by Florida voters in 2018 to restore voting rights to Floridians with felony convictions.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

In many parts of the U.S., people in jail can still go to the polls

HOUSTON — Damien Lewis had been detained in the Harris County Jail for a week. Other than the one hour a day he was allowed to walk around indoors and trips to court, he had been under quarantine and hadn’t left his cell. But on the day of the Texas primary earlier this month, a jail staff member escorted him down to a hallway on the jail’s first floor, which was lined with eight voting machines.

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Defending Democracy News Top Story

Voting snafus in Texas primary show what may be on the way for other states

HOUSTON — Standing outside a polling location in the historically Black neighborhood of Kashmere Gardens on Election Day, lieutenant governor candidate Carla Brailey predicted that Texas’ performance in 2022’s first primary would gain national attention — no matter the outcome. Texas is already a model for other Republican-controlled states for its new law that makes it much tougher to vote for many elderly, low-income and non-white citizens, said Brailey, who went on to lose in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

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D.C. - Capiitol
Congress News Top Story

With voting rights stalled, some senators mull an update to the Electoral Count Act

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of senators is exploring legislation to overhaul how Congress counts Electoral College votes, but backers of stalled voting rights legislation are lukewarm on the effort as a substitute. The Electoral Count Act is an obscure law that has come under recent scrutiny, a year after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

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Defending Democracy News Top Story

MLK Day Monday numbers: The battle to preserve American democracy

In the decades since it became a national holiday, Martin Luther King Day has served as a vehicle to lift up a number of causes that Dr. King himself championed – from racial equality to ending poverty to world peace. Today, however, as we mark what would have been MLK’s 93rd birthday, events have rendered all those causes (and many others of great import) secondary to an overriding imperative: the preservation of our democracy.

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