Voting Rights

A photo of a sign saying 'Vote' with an arrow on a pole.
hjl // Flickr

While going to the ballot box on Election Day is an important ritual for many voters, the coronavirus pandemic has introduced a change in routine. As of Tuesday, Sept. 28, the North Carolina State Board of Elections has received more than a million absentee ballot requests. At this time in 2016, the Board of Elections had received just over 100,000. While some voters hope to stay healthy by avoiding the polls, mail-in voting still presents some anxiety and uncertainty, especially for historically disenfranchised voters like African Americans and Latinos.

When Lanisha Jones went to vote in the 2016 election, she didn’t think she was doing anything wrong. She thought she was simply exercising her right to vote. But in 2019, the district attorney in Hoke County charged her with voting illegally because at the time she was still on probation from a felony conviction.

Since then, Jones has been fighting the charges, and says she was unfairly targeted for unknowingly committing a crime when she voted.

Host Leoneda Inge joins Jeff Tiberii, host of WUNC’s Politics Podcast, to talk with Jones about the charges and how her experience fits into a larger history of disenfranchisement in North Carolina. Leoneda also speaks with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) about his North Carolina roots, the upcoming election and working to strengthen people’s right to vote.
 


When Lanisha Jones went to vote in the 2016 election, she didn’t think she was doing anything wrong. She thought she was simply exercising her right to vote. But in 2019, the district attorney in Hoke County charged her with voting illegally because at the time she was still on probation from a felony conviction.

Since then, Jones has been fighting the charges, and says she was unfairly targeted for committing a crime she didn't know was a crime when she voted.

On this episode of the Politics Podcast, host Jeff Tiberri joins colleague Leoneda Inge, co-host of WUNC’s podcast Tested, to talk with Jones about the charges, and how her experience fits into a larger story of disenfranchisement in North Carolina.
 


Donn Young

  

  

  The 19th Amendment was a watershed moment for women’s rights in the United States, but it left many black women behind. The shortcomings of the suffrage movement inspired faculty-artists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the 19th Amendment Project, which is part of the UNC Process Series. The show explores women, power and politics and celebrates pivotal black activists.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

The first black person elected to the North Carolina General Assembly in the 20th Century. ... First to win a statewide election. ... First to be the state's chief justice. 

But he had hurdles to jump to even enter civic life when he went to register to vote in the 1950s. 

Henry Frye, now 87, discusses public life, voter suppression, and one way to a long marriage on this episode of the WUNC Politics Podcast. 
 


A face superimposed onto a park scene.
Courtesy of Craig Walsh

It took North Carolina more than 40 years to ratify the 19th Amendment, which gave American women the right to vote. The new art installation “1971” commemorates three North Carolina women who contributed to expanding voting rights in the state: Mary Jones Phillips, Mae McLendon and Diane Robertson.

Poverty, Poor People's Campaign, Mass Incarceration
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

The North Carolina Poor People’s Campaign is wrapping up its statewide bus tour today in Raleigh. They plan on joining school teachers for the May 1 demonstration.

Michael Kasino

The American Issues Initiative’s new documentary “Rigged: The Voter Suppression Playbook,” wants to alarm people. It shows the myriad tactics that states, including North Carolina, used to suppress citizens’ right to vote leading up to and during the 2016 election.

“Many people don’t understand that a whole series of laws have been passed in over 20 states with the intent, and effect, of making it more difficult to vote,” says Mac Heller, co-executive producer on the film.

pxhere.com

BBC Radio reporter and producer Giles Edwards first came to North Carolina to look at the politics of voting access in 2014. It was one year after the U.S. Supreme Court had gutted the Voting Rights Act and not long after North Carolina embarked on its own efforts to overhaul voting, including eliminating same-day voter registration and reducing early voting. That legislation was later struck down by the Supreme Court. Through conversations with politicians, activists and experts, Edwards created an audio analysis of the many ways North Carolinians were seeing their voting access change.

Capturing the Flag

The bedrock of American democracy is the right of every citizen to vote. But exercising that right can sometimes prove complicated. During the 2016 election, three old friends headed to Fayetteville to volunteer at polling stations, accompanied by a single camera they hoped would capture their efforts to ensure everyone who wanted to carry out their civic duty could do so. 

Photo: 'Vote Here' sign in English and Spanish
Erik Hersman / Flickr

Federal prosecutors on Thursday backed off requiring North Carolina state and local elections officials to provide potentially tens of millions of ballots and voting documents within a few weeks while they gear up for administering midterm elections.

Penguin Random House

Historian Nancy MacLean stumbled upon the work of James M. Buchanan when she was on the hunt for the ideological roots of the school voucher system. The Nobel Prize-winning economist was at the forefront of a push to popularize libertarianism. 

Millbrook High School students pregistered to vote in their science class.
Jess Clark / WUNC

One of the lesser known provisions of the sweeping 2013 voter ID law ended voter preregistration for 16 and 17-year-olds. Now that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down those 2013 restrictions, preregistration is back, and some North Carolina high schools are taking advantage. In Wake County Schools alone, 3,000 students have already preregistered or registered in school-based registration drives.

Phil Roeder / Flickr Creative Commons

The federal trial over North Carolina’s new voting requirements began yesterday in Winston-Salem.

The key issue is the photo identification requirement passed by the North Carolina legislature that’s set to go into effect during the March primary. Republican leaders say the measure is designed to prevent voter fraud.

Opponents, including the state’s NAACP chapter, argue that the law effectively disenfranchises minority voters.