Ruling Comes in NAACP Suit Charging State Illegally Suppressed Right to Vote of Thousands of Black Residents
In At Least Three Counties, Voters Declared Ineligible Following Bogus Change- in-Residence Claims; Violates National Voting Registration Act
DURHAM—A federal judge Thursday issued a restraining order blocking state and county boards of elections from illegally canceling the registrations of thousands of voters who are being targeted in a coordinated effort right out of the GOP playbook to suppress the black vote in the state.
The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed Monday by the North Carolina NAACP, which charged that in Beaufort, Moore and Cumberland counties, boards of elections have cancelled registrations of thousands of voters solely on the basis of a challenge process triggered by individuals who produced single mailings returned as undeliverable, purporting to show a change in residence—without written confirmation from the affected voters or compliance with federal voter registration laws.
“There is little question that the County Boards’ process of allowing third parties to challenge hundreds and, in Cumberland County, thousands of voters within 90 days before the 2016 General Election constitutes the type of “systematic” removal prohibited by the National Voter Registration Act,” U.S. District Judge Loretta C. Biggs wrote.
Facts produced in the lawsuit confirmed that several other counties have likely committed similar illegal purges.
“This emergency injunction will help make sure not a single voters’ voice is unlawfully taken away,” said the Rev. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP. “The NAACP is defending rights of all North Carolinians to participate in this election and we will not back down and allow this suppression to continue. This is our Selma.”