WINSTON-SALEM – A legal challenge to North Carolina’s restrictive voter ID began on Monday, with attorneys presenting evidence of the law’s burdens on voters of color in North Carolina.
“The right to vote is supposed to be constitutional, not confusing,” said NC NAACP President the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II. “North Carolina’s restrictive photo ID law remains an immoral and unconstitutional burden on voters that creates two unequal tiers of voters. We are prepared to challenge this modern form of Jim Crow in the courts even as we continue our grassroots work. This is the only way to ensure elections in North Carolina remain free, fair and accessible to all people. It’s also a moral mandate.”
The ID trial which opened yesterday, is expected to last 4-7 days and will feature testimony from a range of experts and impacted voters.
The stories of Rosanell Eaton and Maria Del Carmen Sanchez illustrate some of the burdens of the ID requirement. After overcoming a literacy test to vote in the peak of the Jim Crow era, Ms. Eaton, now 94 years old, was forced again to overcome incredible burdens to access the ballot.
Despite being a valid registered voter and voting for more than 70 years, she was forced to make ten trips to the DMV and other state offices, drive more than 200 miles and spend more than 20 hours last year in order to obtain a valid voter ID due to disparities in how her name was spelled on her various forms of identification. Maria Del Carmen Sanchez, whose names is portrayed differently on her identifying documents due to Latino naming conventions (that often include multiple first names and use of a mother’s surname), had to make numerous DMV visits and follow-up phone calls to get her driver’s license to match her passport. Even then, these documents still did not match the name on her voter registration.
“We will continue our fight to tumble the barriers blocking access to the ballot for North Carolina’s voters,” said Rev. Barber. “Our work will not stop until our fundamental right to vote is protected for all.”