We got a lot of coverage on Election Day!

Boone Vote Defenders Ready for Election Day.
Boone Vote Defenders Ready for Election Day.

Our work in Charlotte and Boone got a lot of attention yesterday, and we were featured in many different publications across the south. Lengthy pieces featuring the Vote Defenders were published in, Charlotte Creative Loafing, Carolina Public Press, and the Watauga Democrat.

On their, websites, you can find great interviews with the Vote Defenders and see them in action at the polls.

Additionally, the Associated Press wrote about the Vote Defenders in its piece on North Carolina’s 2013 election, and it was reprinted in the Greensboro News & Record, the Raleigh News & Observer, the Salisbury Post, the Hampton Roads Pilot, and in Univision Noticias.

NC Vote Defenders to Monitor Polls in Watauga and Mecklenburg Counties

Boone and Charlotte, N.C. – Beginning early Tuesday morning the NC Vote Defenders will make their second appearance at North Carolina precincts.  The NC Vote Defenders is a non-partisan project started by young people in the fall of 2013 to raise awareness of changing voting laws and advocate for all North Carolinians’ right to the ballot box – particularly in light of the new legislative changes.
In response to the new “Monster Voting Law,” which has been described as the worst set of voter suppression laws in the country, these young “Vote Defenders” will distribute accurate, non-partisan information about election laws and upcoming changes.  They will also document any incidents where prospective voters have issues casting their ballot.  In October, the NC Vote Defenders monitored precincts in Wake and Pasquotank counties, distributing voter education materials to hundreds of voters.

On November 5, sporting bright orange vests, students and voting rights advocates will stand outside polls in Watauga and Mecklenburg counties.

“We want to make sure that anyone who wants to vote, can,” said Jessica Injejikian, a student organizer with the Vote Defender Project who will be monitoring precincts in her home of Mecklenburg County with students from UNC-Charlotte and Johnson C Smith.  “There’s a lot of confusion out there, particularly around the Voter ID changes – which don’t actually take effect until 2016.  By handing out information and having a dialog with people, we will work to build a movement of engaged voters who refuse to let their voices be silenced and will protect and defend their right to the ballot box – despite the slew of new laws making it more difficult for people to vote.”

“The changes to the laws were designed and being enforced in a way that makes it harder for students and people of color to vote, that’s why US Attorney General Eric Holder is taking a hard look at them,” said NC Vote Defender and Appalachian State University student Albert Lindsey.  “Earlier this year, our county Board of Elections tried to change the location of the precinct where most students are registered to a location that was really inaccessible.  We came together as students and organized and won a compromise location, but unfortunately it shows that the current officials aren’t going to just do what is right.  It’s up to us to watchdog what they do – from poll workers to precinct judges to the members of the Board of Elections, to ensure our voice and vote count.  We’ll be at the polls to be allies to anyone who believes they’ve been unjustly denied their right to vote or who did not have a positive experience when casting a ballot,” said Lindsey.

Many parts of the new law are not yet in effect and the Department of Justice has filed suit challenging the new voting laws.

Recently, North Carolina’s new voting laws were featured on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. This segment included an interview with a Buncombe County GOP precinct chair who said the laws would hurt “lazy blacks” and “lazy college kids.”

“I was shocked when I heard him say blatantly, on national television, that he thinks college students are lazy people who don’t care, and it’s offensive that he said black voters in our state ‘want the government to give them everything,'” said Albert Lindsay.  “It was appalling and an embarrassment to our state. Other people were outraged as well – and so they signed up to become Vote Defenders.  Now they’re working for student voting rights to make sure Mr. Yelton and the General Assembly cannot silence us the way they intend to.”

The NC Vote Defenders recently held a rally for student voting rights in Boone on the campus of Appalachian State University.  “Students at the Vote Defender rally at ASU wore sunglasses before symbolically removing them to show that we will not remain in the dark,” said Bryan Perlmutter, Director of the NC Vote Defenders Project.  “Courageous young people fought and died for voting rights in North Carolina, the birthplace of SNCC and the Sit-in Movement,” said Perlmutter. “It’s our job to defend these gains and others made by those who came before us.”

www.NCVoteDefenders.org

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The NC Vote Defenders is a project of Ignite NC, a youth-led organization supporting youth-led organizing efforts for justice and equality.

Solutions to the problems facing North Carolina and our global community lie in our ability to work together for the common good and to build the leadership and power of young people to create lasting change.  In order to create the kind of future we all deserve, we must understand our past, defend the gains made by those who came before us, and ignite and empower every day people to lead efforts to build a fair and just future. When those most affected by injustice and inequality are the leaders who find and implement solutions, we will create a better world.

~Ignite NC Vision Statement

NC GOP Leader Says New Voting Laws Hurts ‘lazy college kids’ and ‘lazy blacks’

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GOP Precinct Chair Don Yelton

Republican Leader’s Remarks Show New Voting Laws Are Designed to Disenfranchise Youth and People of Color

Durham, NC – On Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart this past Wednesday, Don Yelton of the Buncombe County GOP clearly stated that our state’s new voting laws were passed not to prevent voter fraud, but instead to disenfranchise young voters and people of color.  In the interview, Yelton said the new voting laws – which include eliminating same-day registration and requiring a state ID to vote – would “kick Democrats in the butt.”  When asked if it might make it more difficult for some students to vote, he remarked: “If it hurts a bunch of college kids that’s too lazy to get up off their [rears] and get a photo ID, so be it.”  He showed the same sympathy for voters of color, saying, “If it hurts a bunch of lazy Blacks that want the government to give them everything, so be it.”

Clearly, these new laws are designed to limit the voting power of youth and people of color, part of the new emerging American electorate.  Mr. Yelton’s remarks cannot be any more clear or more offensive.  He doesn’t want students to vote, and he doesn’t want people of color to vote.  He’s glad that it is harder for people in our state to vote, because he doesn’t think everyone should have a say in our government.

With the voting rights of so many blatantly under attack, we have to make a stand and defend everyone’s right to the ballot box.  This is what the NC Vote Defenders are doing this election season, and we need your help.  Vote Defenders will be poll monitoring in in Boone and Charlotte on November 5, but we need more people who are committed to defending and protecting the voice, agency, and vote of EVERY North Carolinians in order to be successful.

Trainings are coming up for Vote Defenders in both these cities – in Boone on Tuesday, Oct 29, and in Charlotte on Saturday, Nov 2.  You must RSVP in order to attend.

Boone Vote Defender training will be next Tuesday, October 29 from 6-8.  Charlotte Vote Defender Training will be Saturday, November 2 from 2-4.  Please sign up on our website, and stand against these attacks on voting rights.  We all deserve to have a say in our government. Don’t let them get away with these attempts to silence your voice.

Volunteer to become a Vote Defender so that you can support the rights of all North Carolinians’ to the ballot box.  Vote Defenders will monitor polls on Election Day for voter suppression.  Boone Vote Defender training is coming up on Tuesday, October 29, from 6-8.  Charlotte training will take place on Saturday, November 2, from 2-4.

We all deserve to have a say in our government.  Stand with those who will be disenfranchised, and say no to the new Jim Crow.

Register Now for the Elizabeth City Vote Defender Training

The Elizabeth City Vote Defender training will be held on Monday, October 7.  We’re really excited about the great group of activists already signed up, but we need more vote defenders to make sure there isn’t student voter suppression on Election Day this year.  At the training, volunteers will be taught how to document incidents of voter suppression and how to help voters advocate for their right to the ballot box.

The training will be Monday night at ______.

Key Elections Approaching in Boone and Charlotte, So Sign Up to be a Vote Defender

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One Election Day Down, One To Go

November 5 is Election Day in Watauga and Mecklenberg counties, and the NC Vote Defenders will once again be at the polls to stand against voter suppression.  Just as we did in Raleigh and Elizabeth City on October 8, we will be at various precincts in Boone and Charlotte educating voters on new voting laws, and documenting voter repression and advocating for everyone’s right to the ballot box.

We Need Your Help

We need volunteers to be Vote Defenders and monitor these polls.  If you stand for student voting rights, for equality in our state, and for the belief that voting laws shouldn’t throw up bureaucratic barriers to the ballot box, but should instead encourage voter participation, then please volunteer here!

Watauga County Vote Defender training will be held on the evening of Monday, October 14, on the campus of Appalachian State University.  Charlotte Vote Defender Training will be on Saturday, November 2 from 3-5.  Stand with the students, and stand for voting laws that encourage people to vote, instead of seeking to silence them.

 

NC Vote Defenders in the press!

Elizabeth City’s Daily Advance Covers Vote Defender Poll Monitoring

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Vote Defender Bryan Perlmutter performs poll monitoring in Elizabeth City.

The work of our Vote Defender volunteers on Tuesday in Pasquotank County was covered by the Daily Advance.  Check us out at the Daily Advance’s website here!

If you like what you read and want to get involved, sign the Call to Action to support the cause, or volunteer yourself to become a Vote Defender.  We’ll at the polls on November 5th in both Charlotte and Boone.

Vote Defenders At the Polls: Election Day Poll Monitoring Educates Local Voters About Changing Voting Laws

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NC Vote Defenders’ Organizing Fellow Lela Ali talks to the press outside of Aversboro Elementary School.

 

On Tuesday, Election Day, Vote Defenders were stationed at multiple polls around Wake and Pasquotank County. These volunteers handed out information on changing voting laws to make sure that local voters knew about their basic voting rights. They also helped monitor for any instances of voter suppression or intimidation.

 

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Bryan Perlmutter, the NC Vote Defender’s Program Director, waits for voters to arrive at a precinct in Elizabeth City.
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Vote Defender volunteers Molly McDonough and Mary-Kylie Cranford monitoring a precinct in Wake County.
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Simone Boney got to the polls early to help make sure voters knew all of their voting rights.

While most new voting laws will not go into effect until 2014 (and 2016 for the new Voter ID law), there was still a lot of confusion over them this year. People showed up with their IDs just in case, and asked questions about when certain voting laws would start being enforced.  Vote Defenders happily answered their questions and alleviated confusion over the new voting regulations.

We’ll be at it again on November 5 in Charlotte and Boone, and we can’t wait!

 

They’re Ready: Wake County Vote Defender Training Prepares Volunteers for Poll Monitoring on Election Day

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Bryan Perlmutter and Lela Ali lead the NC Vote Defender Training

On the night of Thursday October 3, local volunteers gathered in a classroom on the campus of NC State.  These concerned citizens joined the NC Vote Defenders at the Wake County Vote Defender training, showing their commitment to help ensure that all North Carolinians’ can exercise their right to the ballot box.

At the training, local volunteers learned about the suppressive new voting laws that have been passed in North Carolina.  Specifically, they learned when these laws will go into effect, which will help them educate voters at the polls, as well as advocate for anyone who encounters voter suppression.  Volunteers also learned how to document instances of voter suppression and how to seek remedy for these instances so that everyone who wants to vote, can vote.

Bryan Perlmutter role playing to show Vote Defenders what different problems voters may run into at the polls.
Bryan Perlmutter role playing to show Vote Defenders what different problems voters may run into at the polls.

We’re very excited to see them all at the polls on Tuesday, doing their good and necessary work to make sure everyone in Wake County can vote in their elections on October 8th.

But Wake County’s election is not the only election coming up on October 8th.  Elizabeth City, which has already been the site of voter suppression this year, will also be holding local elections next Tuesday.  The Vote Defenders will be active there on Election Day, and we need your help!

If you would like to volunteer to be a poll monitor and vote defender in Elizabeth City, we will be holding our Elizabeth City Vote Defender training next Monday, October 7th.

Sign up here and stand with the NC Vote Defenders for equality and justice in North Carolina!

As Justice Department Sets Sights on NC Voting Laws, North Carolina Youth Train Election Protection Monitors in Response to New Laws

Contact Scott Davis at ncvoterdefense [at] gmail [.com] or 828-674-0951 for more information

North Carolina – October 1 marks the launch of a new youth-led project aimed to ensure every eligible voter can access the ballot box free from intimidation or incident.   The NC Vote Defenders are launching in response to North Carolina’s new “Monster Voting Laws”.  

“This set of new voting rules disproportionately and negatively affects students, people of color, and working families. In a region scarred by the legacy of poll taxes and Jim Crow, the NC Vote Defenders are determined not to allow our state to take steps backward,” said Bryan Perlmutter, a recent graduate from NC State and founder of the NC Vote Defenders.  “We are heartened to hear that Eric Holder and the U.S. Department of Justice are also taking action to challenge these outrageous new laws.  They are the last gasps of sad old men who are trying to hold onto power – the laws restrict the participation of regular people and instead serve the interests of the elite and those who have held economic and political power in North Carolina for too long.” 
 
“We are organizing groups of students across the state to monitor polls and guard against voter suppression.  The Vote Defenders will be boots on the ground, trained to educate people on changing voting laws, document any incidents on Election Day, and help folks seek remedies when and where we can,” said Jessica Injejikian, Charlotte NC Vote Defender Organizing Fellow
 
This fall Vote Defenders will be stationed at polling places in Boone near Appalachian State, in Charlotte near Johnson C. Smith and UNC-Charlotte, in Wake County in Garner and Raleigh, and in Elizabeth City near Elizabeth City State University.
 
Suppressing the Student Vote in North Carolina

  • One provision of the new North Carolina Voting Laws has removed pre-registration for 16 and 17-year olds, a widely popular and successful initiative to register up and coming voters.
  • In the aftermath of the new voting laws, the Watauga County Board of Elections immediately moved the One Stop Early Voting site off the campus of Appalachian State University to a hard-to-access site with poor public transportation access more than two miles from campus.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court confirmed students’ right to vote where they attend school in the 1979 case of Symm vs. US.  Yet, many students at Elizabeth City State University are still being told they cannot register and that if they try to vote, their votes will be challenged.

“Voter suppression and our new voting laws are not just affecting North Carolina.  This state has become a testing ground for regressive voting restrictions that take us back in time.  If these are not challenged, both in a courtroom and in our communities, other regressive state legislatures will take note and be ready to introduce their own restrictive voting laws – modeled on NC,” said Lela Ali, NC State student and Vote Defender.

“Students are the future – we have a right to vote and be heard.  North Carolina should be doing everything in its power to increase youth voter participation, not restrict it.  Voter suppression must be defeated in North Carolina, or else it will spread.  By educating the public and helping people advocate for their rights at the ballot box, we will turn the tide back toward accessibility and equality for all North Carolinians,” said Albert Lindsey, IV Appalachian State University Vote Defender.
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The NC Vote Defenders is a non-partisan organization.  It was started by youth in the fall of 2013 to raise awareness of changing voting laws and advocate for all North Carolinians’ right to the ballot box.

The NC Vote Defenders is a project of Ignite NC – a youth-led organization supporting youth-led organizing efforts for justice and equality.

Solutions to the problems facing North Carolina and our global community lie in our ability to work together for the common good and to build the leadership and power of young people to create lasting change.  In order to create the kind of future we all deserve, we must understand our past, defend the gains made by those who came before us, and ignite and empower every day people to lead efforts to build a fair and just future. When those most affected by injustice are the leaders who find and implement solutions, we will create a better world.

~Ignite NC Vision Statement

Register Now for the Wake County Vote Defender Training!

The Wake County Vote Defender training is coming up, and we’re very excited to see everyone that has already signed up there.  You’ve all made an important commitment to fighting for student voting rights in NC.  We’re ready to give you to the tools to do that, and to make sure that all student voices are heard.

But you can still sign up for the Wake County Vote Defender Training!  Click here and fill out the form to register!

The training will take place on October 3.  It will at NC State.  Time and room location will be sent out to those that have signed up.

We can’t wait to see all the Vote Defenders there.

No New Jim Crow!