Stop Taking Polling Places Away From African American Communities
Last year, the North Carolina State Board of Elections closed nearly a third of the state's Early Voting locations, replacing them with polling places at new sites. As we recently reported, the effect of these changes was to move polling places a total of 21,000 miles farther away from white voters' homes, but more than ten times farther - 350,000 miles - from black voters' homes - a distance equal to a trip from the Earth to the Moon and half-way home again.
Democracy depends on free and fair elections. And those depend, in part, on equal access to the polls for voters of all races.
Both the U.S. Constitution's 15th Amendment and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act provide that voting rights "shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race." To ‘abridge’ a right is to lessen its strength or effect. North Carolina's shell game of polling places switches, moving black voters further away from the polls, is a clear violation of African American voters' constitutional rights, as well as of the Voting Rights Act.
We call on the North Carolina State Board of Elections to:
- Immediately correct the severe racial disparity imposed by 2014's changes in Early Voting locations, by opening new polling place sites in the communities of people of color across the state in time for the 2016 elections.
- Implement a new process at the State Board of Elections for evaluation of future polling place relocations, by requiring a detailed geospatial demographic analysis for each such proposed change, to insure it will not have racially disparate effects on voters' access to the polls.
- North Carolina State Board of Elections
Stop Taking Polling Places Away From African American Communities in NC
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