Issue Briefings are from 1:45 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.
Friday, June 17, 2015
Issue Briefings Session
3:30 P.M. – 4:55 P.M.
Voting is fundamental to a democracy yet when it comes to protecting “voting rights” such rights seems to be under attack. Since 2013 when the US Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, there appear to be an all-out assault on the right to vote in America. Laws making it more difficult to vote have been enacted in 17 states. Among the more notable changes are measures such as a photo ID or proof of citizenship in order to vote, reduction in early voting periods, reduction in the number of polling places, purging voter rolls, changes to absentee and provisional ballot rules, and curbing voter registration drives. Such laws negatively impact minority and lower-income Americans and have been characterized as suppressing voter turnout.
The 2016 Presidential Election in November will be the first time voters will be voting in a high turnout election without the full strength of the Voting Rights Act being in place. It will be the first time voters in 17 states will be voting in a Presidential Election with new voting laws that make it more difficult to vote. What impact will these factors have on the election process? Are there likely to be longer lines because of reduced number of polling places? Are there likely to be hundreds of voters who will discover that their names have been purged from voting rolls, etc?
Participants in this briefing session will get a history of voting rights and changes that have been made nationally, and will receive the latest in terms of North Carolina’s voting law changes and the impact of such changes on the state’s recent primary election – what worked and what failed to work. They will be given an overview of North Carolina’s voting rights cases awaiting action from the courts and what the future holds for voting rights in the state. Finally, participants will explore what they can do individually and collectively to protect and strengthen voting rights and ways in which “voting rights” can be made a priority during the 2016 election.
Senator Daniel T. Blue
14th Senate District (Wake)
Professor Theodore M. Shaw
Director, Center for Civil Rights
University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill
Representative H. Mickey Michaux
31st House District (Durham)
Election Preparation and Support Manager
North Carolina State Board of Elections
Summer Law Clerk
Southern Coalition for Social Justice