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NC's NAACP Sues State Over Alleged Voter Suppression

Photo: A voting ballot
Flickr Creative Commons/ Ken Zirkel

The state chapter of the NAACP is asking a federal court to stop local elections boards from canceling voter registrations.

The lawsuit says the court should restore thousands of voters who have been removed from the rolls in Moore and Beaufort Counties because of individual challenges.

The NAACP says many of the voters moved to new residences within their counties, and challenges were raised because their registration cards were not deliverable to their listed addresses. 

Federal law prohibits boards from removing voter registrations within 90 days of an election. State law does not. 

Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, accused Republicans of carrying out the challenges as a coordinated effort to remove black voters from the rolls by claiming voter fraud.

"Voter fraud is not the issue, but voter suppression is real, it's planned, it's intentional and it's ongoing against the African-American community," Barber said Monday during a conference call with reporters.

"In many cases, voters purged by the state still reside at the addresses where they are registered to vote or have moved within the county and remain eligible to vote there," he said.

The director of the state Board of Elections says the federal law has been interpreted in a way that does not ban individual challenges to voter registration, and some challenged voters may have moved out of the county or died.

Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
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