NC NAACP Testimony Submitted to U.S. Senate Committee on Proposed Fix to the Voting Rights Act

To explain how North Carolina has seen its expansive voter protections rolled back since the Shelby Co. v. Holder decision gutted the Voting Rights Act’s Section V preclearance requirement, NC NAACP President Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II submitted testimony into the record for the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary as they consider the Voting Rights Amendment Act 2014. 

Below is a copy of Dr. Barber's testimony:

Testimony of Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II,

President of the North Carolina State Conference of NAACP Branches

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE 

Submitted for the Record of THE UNITED STATES SENATE Committee on the Judiciary 

Hearing before the Full Committee on the Voting Rights Amendment Act, S.1945:

Updating the Voting Rights Act in Response to Shelby County v. Holder (June 25, 2014):

The History of Voting Rights and Protecting the Franchise in North Carolina

I.     Introduction

I thank the Committee for holding this hearing and welcome the opportunity to testify regarding the need to reconstruct the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  I am the President of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP (“NC NAACP”) and the leader of the Forward Together Moral Movement for civil rights that is being embraced by hundreds of thousands of people across the South.  The NC NAACP is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization composed of over 100 local branches and 20,000 individual members throughout the state of North Carolina.  It has members who are citizens and registered voters in each of the state’s 100 counties, including the 41 counties previously covered by the Voting Rights Act. The Forward Together Moral Movement is a multiracial movement of blacks, whites and Latinos seeking a just and inclusive democracy.   I hope that you hear my call for justice and do all that is necessary to restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act. 

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Statement on Federal Court's Decision to Allow Voting Restrictions during Nov. Election

On Aug. 8, a federal judge denied attempts by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and his administration to have the NC NAACP's legal challenge to the massive voter suppression law dismissed. Instead, he ruled that the case will be set for a full trial in 2015. 

Judge Thomas Schroeder also declined to issue a preliminary injunction that would have stopped the many restrictions on voting to go into effect this November. He said he did not think it would cause irreparable harm to allow the law to be enforced this year. 

Many voters will almost certainly be disenfranchised this fall, because of the cuts to early voting, the elimination of same-day registration, straight ticket voting and cutbacks of provisional ballots for people who mistakenly turn up at the wrong polling site.

In response to Judge Schroeder's ruling, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina NAACP, issued the following statement:

"If one elderly or young person, black, white or Latino decides she won't vote because of the shorter early voting weeks, the elimination of same-day voting, the confusing ballots without straight party voting and other sections of this voter suppression law that are still standing because of today's court decision, that is indeed an irreparable harm. The harm is irreparable to the voter...and to our democracy.

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Clergy Release Open Letter to Gov. McCrory, Speaker Tillis, and Pres. Pro Temp. Berger on Behalf of the Forward Together Moral Movement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 19, 2014

Clergy Release Open Letter to Governor McCrory and NC General Assembly Leadership on Behalf of the Forward Together Moral Movement 

DURHAM -  A group of clergy members, including Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, released a letter today, provided below, to Gov McCrory, Senate Leader Berger, and Speaker Tillis on behalf of the Forward Together Moral Movement requesting a meeting with the North Carolina General Assembly leadership before the opening of the 2014 short session on May 14th. 

In the midst of holy week and only days before the Easter holiday, the letter emphasized the constitutionally inconsistent, morally indefensible and economically insane nature of the public policy agenda pushed in the 2013 session and urged a new and moral direction to be forged in the upcoming months. 

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National Commission on Voting Rights Fact-Finding Hearing Held Friday Paints Disheartening Picture of Widespread Voter Discrimination, Disenfranchisement and Vote Dilution in NC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,

April 1, 2014

ROCKY MOUNT, NC - Advocates, community leaders, legal and policy experts, activists and everyday North Carolinians made a powerful case for restoring expansive access to the ballot box on March 28 at the National Commission on Voting Rights organized by the NC NAACP, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the UNC Center for Civil Rights and other coalition partners in Rocky Mount, NC.

Held in the light of the Supreme Court's misguided decision to gut the Voting Rights Act nine months ago and in light of the sweeping voter suppression law passed two months later by extremists in the NC General Assembly, the fact-finding hearing detailed how North Carolina has changed from the state with the most expansive ballot access to one of the most restrictive.

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the NC NAACP and architect of the Forward Together Moral Movement, opened the program at 9 am Friday by welcoming commissioners, witnesses and attendees from the general public.

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Joint News Release: NC NAACP and Vidant Health Reach Agreement to Keep Belhaven Hospital Open

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,

March 27, 2014

GREENVILLE, NC -The North Carolina NAACP, the NAACP Branches in Hyde and Beaufort Counties and the leadership of Vidant Health are pleased to announce this morning at 9 am that they have worked out an agreement to keep Vidant Pungo Hospital open.

Vidant Pungo Hospital and its emergency facilities will remain open and operated byVidant Health through July 1, 2014. Over the next three months, Vidant Health will work with the community to help them establish a representative community-based board that will accept full operating control of the hospital in a transfer by July 1, 2014.

We wish to thank Mayor Adam O'Neal of Belhaven - who has worked tirelessly on the behalf of his constituents - health policy analyst Adam Linker from the N.C. Justice Center and the Mediation Service of the U.S. Department of Justice for their assistance in reaching this agreement.

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Pointing to Cost of Uninsured Patients, Health Care Provider to Close Sole Hospital in Belhaven, NC, over Strong Protests, Withholding Emergency Care from Thousands

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 5, 2014

Conflict as medical desert emerges in coastal North Carolina | StoryofAmerica
Conflict as medical desert emerges in coastal North Carolina | StoryofAmerica

BELHAVEN, NC - Citing a difficult financial situation partially due to North Carolina's refusal to expand Medicaid, a health care provider announced last week that it will close its hospital in the small town of Belhaven, NC, on April 1 in complete disregard of the community's staunch protests and for the thousands of lives that the provider will put at risk by removing the only emergency care facility in this rural area.

Joining together with Mayor Adam O'Neal and local residents, the NC NAACP filed a Title VI Civil Rights complaint with the US Department of Health and Human Services on Jan. 7th bring Vidant Health and the community to the negotiating table. The Office of Civil Rights with HHS is opening their investigation into the issue and is aware that the emergency room is slated for demolition in early April. If no agreement is reached, the NC NAACP asks that the department cut off federal funding to Vidant until the provider remedies this discriminatory situation.

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The NC NAACP and the Forward Together Moral Movement Stand in Solidarity with the 39 People of Conscience Arrested for Saying No to Extremism in Georgia at Today's Moral Monday Action

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 18, 2014 

ATLANTA - Over 100 Georgians peacefully petitioned their state lawmakers today to expand Medicaid and provide life-saving health care to more than 650,000 poor and uninsured people - and 39 people of conscience bore witness to the harm inflicted by this unjust, immoral denial of Medicaid by facing arrest for acts of civil disobedience they committed in the state senate gallery, outside Gov. Nathan Deal's office and outside the state senate chamber.

Today's demonstration, which marked the second-to-last day of the legislative session, was the ninth organized by the Georgia Moral Mondays coalition, and it brings the number of arrested since January at the state capitol to 72. Among the diverse group arrested were people who needed Medicaid, activists, Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church and Rev. Dr. Francys Johnson, president of the Georgia NAACP.

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In a Great Victory for Public School Supporters, a Wake County Judge Issues Temporary Injunction Friday against the North Carolina Voucher Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 21, 2014

RALEIGH - Judge Robert H. Hobgood issued a temporary injunction Friday stopping efforts by extremists to undermine North Carolina's public schools by diverting $11.7 million from the general school fund into a voucher program that would send taxpayer money to any of the state's 700 private schools.

In a full courtroom at the old Wake County courthouse, plaintiff attorneys emphasized that the NC Constitution prohibits discrimination based on race and religion and mandates that taxpayer funds be used "exclusively" for the public school system. After hearing a few hours of arguments, the judge read a short order granting our request for a temporary injunction that stops any further activity on the so-called opportunity scholarships -- a program devised by a national ideological coalition to undermine public school systems.

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Veteran Judge to Consider an Immediate Halt to Tea Party's Voucher Program this Friday Morning, Feb. 21 at 9:30 am

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 20, 2014

Friday, Feb. 21, 2014
9:30 a.m.
Courtroom 10-B, 
Old Wake County Courthouse
316 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh
  

RALEIGH - At the end of three hours of heated arguments, veteran Judge Robert A. Hobgood made two decisions on Monday. First he denied the request by lawyers defending the Tea Party's vouchers program to dismiss the lawsuit brought by progressive community leaders to stop the duplicitous attack on public education. Then he announced to the packed courtroom that he would consider the request by community leaders for a temporary injunction that would stop the vouchers in their tracks while those of us who are opposed gather further evidence for a full trial later this year.   

The historic arguments on the motion to issue a temporary injunction against the vouchers will be heard Friday, Feb. 21,  at 9:30 am in courtroom 10-B of the old Wake County courthouse, 316 Fayetteville Street.

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NC NAACP's Brief Challenges Latest Extremist Attack on Our Children, Cites the Ugly History of Vouchers as a Strategy for Impeding Integrated, Well-Funded Public Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 14, 2014

RALEIGH - On the birthday of Lincoln and the NAACP, the NC NAACP filed a brief in Wake County Court challenging the constitutionality of the extremists' new schoolvoucher program. This program was passed last year as part of a regressive attack on public school teachers and county school systems. It will transfer $11 million from public schools to a fund that will give $4200 in taxpayer dollars to a small proportion of students whose parents want to enroll their kids in private schools.

Twenty-five plaintiffs--ranging from community leaders, school board members, teachers and principals--sued the extremist government for passing another unconstitutional law. They alleged the voucher program violated the North Carolina constitutional requirement that each child receive a sound, basic education. The North Carolina Association of Educators, which has been the target of several other attacks by the extremist General Assembly over the past two years, along with the NC Justice Center are organizational plaintiffs. 

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