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    Discrimination in North Carolina

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    Discrimination is reeking its ugly head in North Carolina again. Voter restrictions laws, a topic of much debate, could make it difficult for approximately 600,000 eligible voters to participate in our democracy and vote. Currently, thirty states have implemented voter discrimination ID laws that prevent citizens from voting, and even more states are considering to do the same. This includes a staggering 20 million or more Americans that do not have government-issued photo ID. How this is discrimination?  A disproportionate number vulnerable Americans which include low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, disabled and the elderly.

    Current legislation, Voter Protection Integrity/Every Vote Counts SB 235/HB 253, is in place to protect voters, and it has the supported of the National Association of Social Workers. This bill ensures that all legally registered voters who go to the polls has the right to vote and cannot be denied this right because of these discriminatory photo ID requirements. Unfortunately this bill has not yet been assigned to a committee.

    Most of the GOP is in support of voter ID requirements, calming that it protects against voter fraud however, not all members of the General Assembly see eye to eye in this matter. State Rep. Kelly Alexander Jr., a Democrat from Mecklenburg County, stated in an article from the Washington Post:

    The ID requirement would discourage students, the poor, older adults and minorities from voting because they are more likely to not have an ID card.  We cannot afford to disenfranchise more than 600,000 voters for not having proper identification. Voting is more than just a privilege, it is a constitutional right.”

    And, voices from the community came out in uproar where citizens from all over the state, including 91 year old Rosanell Eaton, who came to speak out at the public hearing on March 12th in opposition to the implementation of the voter ID.

    This law is a form of discrimination and oppression which would have a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable populations in our society. This includes low-income citizens, minority voters, students, senior citizens, voters with disabilities and others who do not have a government-issued ID.  State laws are suppose to expand the rights given by the federal government instead of  restricting them. They should help more people have the access to vote and not restrict the ability of the underprivileged even more.

    Contact your legislators and tell them you support Voter Protection Integrity/Every Vote Counts,SB 235/HB 253. We do not want to return to Jim Crow South where discrimination is protected by laws!

    View the voter ID Law Summary:
    [gview file=”https://swhelper.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/NC-Voter-ID-Bill-Summary-4-25-13.pdf”]

     

     

    Lydia Long is the Politics Staff Writer for Social Work Helper. Her career goals includes working in social justice, policy, and community outreach/organizing. Lydia has work experience in progressive community engagement serving vulnerable populations in mental health and addiction. Lydia is a Masters of Social Work Candidate at the University of NC-Greensboro and NCA&T University Joint Program.

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