It’s Already Started: Student Voter Suppression Hits NC on the First Day of Early Voting

Elizabeth City, N.C.—On September 19, early voting opened in Pasquotank County, home to Elizabeth City State University, an HBCU (Historically Black College or University).   Earlier this year, ECSU Senior Montravias King initially had his application to run for City Council denied by the Pasquotank County Board of Elections.  While King had been a campus resident, and had voted in Elizabeth City for the past three years, the Board of Elections cited residency issues as justification for this denial.  The ensuing legal battle between King and the Board of Elections gained national attention and was even featured on the Rachel Maddow Show. Ultimately, the State Board of Elections overturned the initial ruling, allowing King to run.  However, the challenge to his candidacy was just one more incident in the Pasquotank County Elections Board’s long history of suppressing student votes and targeting black officials.

Pasquotank County

Students Turned Away at Polls, Right to Vote Challenged

Enthusiastic students from Elizabeth City State University held a march from campus to the early voting site last Thursday, September 19 – the first of early voting.  Eager to take advantage of Same Day Registration, the students brought documents and identification.  However, the all-white poll workers (Elizabeth City is less than 40% white) immediately acted hostile towards the students.  Outside, campaigners for the white mayoral candidate proceeded to tell students that they should not be allowed to vote.

When students attempted to register and vote, seven students were turned away because of what poll workers deemed “improper identification.”  Students who presented a residence assignment from the University, which included their name and dorm number, were told that this agreement was not a valid form of identification.  After arguing with poll workers, students were  told that if they used their dorm assignment papers, they could “expect their votes to be challenged.” Additionally, poll workers asked students, “Do you plan on abandoning your homes?”  This question was used to establish if the university address was indeed their residence.  Of course, the U.S. Supreme Court already ruled, in the 1979 case of Symm vs. United States, that college students have the Constitutional right to vote where they attend school.  However, those working the polls in Elizabeth City are still trying to silence students who want to vote in their local elections and affect the communities they live in.

Youth, Students, and Community Members Fight Back

On Sunday, September 22, the NC Vote Defenders went to ECSU to provide training on election protection and poll monitoring.  Participants included The Links, a local women’s faith-based organization, students in the Elizabeth City University NAACP Youth and Student Chapter, and members of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

 

NC Vote Defender Training in Elizabeth City

Starting today, The Links will begin monitoring polls to advocate and document instances of suppression at the only early voting site in the county.  Additionally, students are organizing another march to the polls.  They are also gearing up to monitor the precincts near campus on Election Day. The NC Vote Defenders are helping to organize students and provide training for election protection work here at ECSU.  Vote Defenders will also be working at NC State, Appalachian State, and UNC-Charlotte.  Just two days into early voting, we have already encountered mass voter suppression. Students and youth are organizing to protect the right of students to vote. We will not stand for this.

Stand with us for students’ right to vote in North Carolina!

Organizing Fellows Build a Movement

From left: Albert Lindsey, Lela Ali, Scott Davis, Jessica  Injejikian, Ciera Echols, and Bryan Perlmutter
From left: Albert Lindsey, Lela Ali, Scott Davis, Jessica Injejikian, Ciera Echols, and Bryan Perlmutter

 

This past Wednesday was orientation for the five organizing and communications fellows with the NC Vote Defenders Project.  These young activists will be working hard to build a grassroots movement against the racist and discriminatory voting laws that have recently been passed in North Carolina.  At various schools (Appalachian State, NC State, UNC-Charlotte, and Elizabeth City State University), these fellows will be working to recruit a cohort of other student activists to stand guard against voter suppression.  When Election Day comes, the NC Vote Defenders will be out at key precincts, providing non-partisan information and informing everyone of the coming changes to voter laws. Additionally, they will help people advocate to ensure they are able to cast a ballot, as well as document acts of voter suppression to ensure that every eligible North Carolinian that wants to vote, can.

With their passion, knowledge, and deep concern for their state, these young organizers are determined to create a grassroots movement that will turn North Carolina away from the regressive path Gov. McCrory and the General Assembly has set us on.  Join them in the fight for equal rights and in rejecting North Carolina’s new form of Jim Crow by signing our Call to Action or volunteering to become a Vote Defender yourself.

Montravious King Allowed to Run

Press Conference State Board of Elections
Press Conference State Board of Elections

 

 

STATEMENT BY AMANDA BROWN, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, ON MONTRAVIAS KING’S APPEAL TO THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS

Washington, DC – September 3, 2013

Let me first thank Montravias King for his brave and honorable commitment to his community and our country.  He has answered the call to citizenship by voting regularly on Election Day, by volunteering in his community, by running for City Council, and now by speaking out when our freedoms as young Americans are threatened.  He is a role model for us all.

When this young man and student of Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina, bravely decided to run for City Council in order to serve his community – the one he has lived in since 2009, the place he calls home – he should have been applauded.  But instead the Pasquotank County Board of Elections told him ‘no’ because he lives in a dorm on campus.  He challenged the County, and won.

This ruling in favor of Montravias King by the State Board of Elections is a real victory for our democracy, and student voting rights everywhere.

Today we celebrate this victory.

As we celebrate, however, we are also vigilant.  This case was a blatant attempt to keep a student from exercising his fundamental rights.  And it was particularly outrageous given the fact that the United States Supreme Court has upheld the rights of students to vote where they go to college, and the state of North Carolina has a statute reinforcing this right for students to vote at their campus address.

We hope this decision today serves as a lesson that Rock the Vote, our allies, and students everywhere will not be silenced.  Hear our message loud and clear:  no politician can get away with this.  Not in Pasquotank County. Not in any other North Carolina county. Not anywhere!  Any attempt to penalize a young person for being a student by revoking their right to participate in our democracy is unacceptable and un-American and will not stand.

Congratulations and thank you to Montravias and to all of the students who came out today.

 

 

Student and Youth Organizing Fellows

Ignite NC is seeking youth and student Organizing Fellows for its NC Voter Defense Project

The purpose of this fellowship is to coordinate youth and student efforts in North Carolina to counter attacks on voting rights and stop the attacks on young people – from racial profiling to joblessness.  There is a stipend offered with this fellowship.

The positions are based in Charlotte, Elizabeth City, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Boone, and Durham.  Potential fellows must be able to attend a mandatory training on September 11 evening in Durham.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS IS 5PM ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9th

We are seeking candidates who can make a three month commitment: September 11, 2013 through December 13, 2013.

Organizing Fellow

Position: Fellow (Paid)
Dates: September 11, 2013 – December 13, 2013
Hours: 10-15 hours/week

Location: Fellows will be hired to be based in and near the campuses in Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Elizabeth City, Raleigh, Boone, and Durham

A $500 stipend is offered with this fellowship.

Young people, students, people of color, women, immigrants, and poor and working people are under attack in North Carolina.  The attack on the voting rights of students is one of the significant battlegrounds in our state.  This fellowship will focus in large part on Election Protection and voter defense in key places around the state.   

Responsibilities:

  • Fellows will work in partnership with student and youth, voting rights, immigrant, and racial justice organizations to protect and defend the right of students to vote in North Carolina.
  • Recruit a dedicated cohort of student activists to be trained to know the rights of voters, voter ID laws and other new laws, and be prepared to document and advocate for people who’s right to vote is being challenged,
  • Help with social media and traditional media outreach,
  • Coordinate volunteers,
  • Work with partner organization to help build the skills and capacity of youth and students and youth and student-led organizations ability to engage in long-term movement building,
  • Other administrative support tasks as needed,

FELLOWS MUST

  • A strong and proven commitment to progressive values and building the power of youth and students, especially LGBTQ youth, women, low-income youth, and youth of color,
  • Excellent communication and teamwork skills,
  • Available and willing to work some weekday evenings and weekends
  • Reliable, outgoing, self-motivated and detail-oriented,
  • Must have a driver’s license and preferably a car

Application Deadline: Wednesday, September 9


Interested candidates submit resume, cover letter (NO LONGER THAN TWO PAGES), and three references to NCVoterDefense@gmail.com. Use the subject line “Organizing Fellow” in your email. In your cover letter, please answer the following questions:  

1.      Why are you interested in this organizing fellowship?

2.      Describe your organizing experience or what interests you in organizing.

3.      What do you think it will take to build the youth and student movement in North Carolina?  What do you think you can contribute?

4.      Tell us about someone you consider a role model and why.

5.      Tell us about one issue you feel passionate about.

NC Voter Defense Project

NCVoterDefense@gmail.com

Student and Youth Organizing Fellows

Ignite NC is seeking youth and student Organizing Fellows for its NC Voter Defense Project

The purpose of this fellowship is to coordinate youth and student efforts in North Carolina to counter attacks on voting rights and stop the attacks on young people – from racial profiling to joblessness.  There is a stipend offered with this fellowship.

The positions are based in Charlotte, Elizabeth City, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Boone, and Durham.  Potential fellows must be able to attend a mandatory training on September 11 evening in Durham.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS IS 5PM ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9th

We are seeking candidates who can make a three month commitment: September 11, 2013 through December 13, 2013.

Organizing Fellow

Position: Fellow (Paid)
Dates: September 11, 2013 – December 13, 2013
Hours: 10-15 hours/week

Location: Fellows will be hired to be based in and near the campuses in Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Elizabeth City, Raleigh, Boone, and Durham

A $500 stipend is offered with this fellowship.

Young people, students, people of color, women, immigrants, and poor and working people are under attack in North Carolina.  The attack on the voting rights of students is one of the significant battlegrounds in our state.  This fellowship will focus in large part on Election Protection and voter defense in key places around the state.   

Responsibilities:

  • Fellows will work in partnership with student and youth, voting rights, immigrant, and racial justice organizations to protect and defend the right of students to vote in North Carolina.
  • Recruit a dedicated cohort of student activists to be trained to know the rights of voters, voter ID laws and other new laws, and be prepared to document and advocate for people who’s right to vote is being challenged,
  • Help with social media and traditional media outreach,
  • Coordinate volunteers,
  • Work with partner organization to help build the skills and capacity of youth and students and youth and student-led organizations ability to engage in long-term movement building,
  • Other administrative support tasks as needed,

FELLOWS MUST

  • A strong and proven commitment to progressive values and building the power of youth and students, especially LGBTQ youth, women, low-income youth, and youth of color,
  • Excellent communication and teamwork skills,
  • Available and willing to work some weekday evenings and weekends
  • Reliable, outgoing, self-motivated and detail-oriented,
  • Must have a driver’s license and preferably a car

Application Deadline: Wednesday, September 9


Interested candidates submit resume, cover letter (NO LONGER THAN TWO PAGES), and three references to NCVoterDefense@gmail.com. Use the subject line “Organizing Fellow” in your email. In your cover letter, please answer the following questions:  

1.      Why are you interested in this organizing fellowship?

2.      Describe your organizing experience or what interests you in organizing.

3.      What do you think it will take to build the youth and student movement in North Carolina?  What do you think you can contribute?

4.      Tell us about someone you consider a role model and why.

5.      Tell us about one issue you feel passionate about.

NC Voter Defense Project

NCVoterDefense@gmail.com

Defend Students Vote: State Board of Elections Meeting

Civic Groups Call on State Board of Elections to Protect Student Voting Rights

 What: Students and civic groups including NCPIRG, Common Cause, Ignite NC, NCSU Student Power Union, Democracy NC and Rock the Vote will gather outside the State Board of Elections meeting to call on the Board to reverse recent decisions by local county boards of elections that make it harder for young people to vote and participate in our democracy.

The Board is meeting to discuss recent actions by county boards of elections including the Watauga County board’s decision to eliminate the Early Voting and Election Day polling sites from the campus of Appalachian State University and the Pasquotank County board’s ruling to prevent Montravias King, an Elizabeth City State University senior, from running for local office.

Who: Irene Cadwell, NCPIRG

Masac Dorlouis, Common Cause

Bryan Perlmutter, Ignite NC

Monserrat Alvarez, NCSU Student Power

Meghan Leonard, NCSU NCPIRG Chapter Chair

Isaiah Daniels, Shaw University NAACP Representative

Robert Nunnery, UNC Associate Student Government Chair

Dylan Russell, App State Student Government President

When: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 12:30pm

Where: State Board of Elections Meeting  State Board of Elections Office, 411 North Harrington Street, Raleigh. The staging area for demonstrations and media located to the right of the front door

 Excellent visuals! Outside the State Board of Elections meeting students will be taking photos of other young people holding banners with messages to the committee members that say “Please Protect Our Rights” and “Stand Up for Students.” Ignite NC will be carrying signs that say, “In the spirit of Medgar Evers, we stand with Montravias” and “This BS is so 1963

Protect Student Vote: State Board of Election Meeting

Civic Groups Call on State Board of Elections to Protect Student Voting Rights

 What: Students and civic groups including NCPIRG, Common Cause, Ignite NC, NCSU Student Power Union, Democracy NC and Rock the Vote will gather outside the State Board of Elections meeting to call on the Board to reverse recent decisions by local county boards of elections that make it harder for young people to vote and participate in our democracy.

The Board is meeting to discuss recent actions by county boards of elections including the Watauga County board’s decision to eliminate the Early Voting and Election Day polling sites from the campus of Appalachian State University and the Pasquotank County board’s ruling to prevent Montravias King, an Elizabeth City State University senior, from running for local office.

Who: Irene Cadwell, NCPIRG

Masac Dorlouis, Common Cause

Bryan Perlmutter, Ignite NC

Monserrat Alvarez, NCSU Student Power

Meghan Leonard, NCSU NCPIRG Chapter Chair

Isaiah Daniels, Shaw University NAACP Representative

Robert Nunnery, UNC Associate Student Government Chair

Dylan Russell, App State Student Government President

When: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 12:30pm

Where: State Board of Elections Meeting  State Board of Elections Office, 411 North Harrington Street, Raleigh. The staging area for demonstrations and media located to the right of the front door

 Excellent visuals! Outside the State Board of Elections meeting students will be taking photos of other young people holding banners with messages to the committee members that say “Please Protect Our Rights” and “Stand Up for Students.” Ignite NC will be carrying signs that say, “In the spirit of Medgar Evers, we stand with Montravias” and “This BS is so 1963

Defend Student Vote: State Board of Election Meeting

Civic Groups Call on State Board of Elections to Protect Student Voting Rights

 What: Students and civic groups including NCPIRG, Common Cause, Ignite NC, NCSU Student Power Union, Democracy NC and Rock the Vote will gather outside the State Board of Elections meeting to call on the Board to reverse recent decisions by local county boards of elections that make it harder for young people to vote and participate in our democracy.

The Board is meeting to discuss recent actions by county boards of elections including the Watauga County board’s decision to eliminate the Early Voting and Election Day polling sites from the campus of Appalachian State University and the Pasquotank County board’s ruling to prevent Montravias King, an Elizabeth City State University senior, from running for local office.

Who: Irene Cadwell, NCPIRG

Masac Dorlouis, Common Cause

Bryan Perlmutter, Ignite NC

Monserrat Alvarez, NCSU Student Power

Meghan Leonard, NCSU NCPIRG Chapter Chair

Isaiah Daniels, Shaw University NAACP Representative

Robert Nunnery, UNC Associate Student Government Chair

Dylan Russell, App State Student Government President

When: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 12:30pm

Where: State Board of Elections Meeting  State Board of Elections Office, 411 North Harrington Street, Raleigh. The staging area for demonstrations and media located to the right of the front door

 Excellent visuals! Outside the State Board of Elections meeting students will be taking photos of other young people holding banners with messages to the committee members that say “Please Protect Our Rights” and “Stand Up for Students.” Ignite NC will be carrying signs that say, “In the spirit of Medgar Evers, we stand with Montravias” and “This BS is so 1963