An Attack on Young Voters of Color in NC

The North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) has successfully added six constitutional
amendments to the ballot this November, many of which will have a detrimental impact on
voters that look like me. A strict photo identification requirement to vote is the first of these
limits to voting access. In the past few years, many political leaders have been successfully
pushing the narrative that voter fraud is a massive epidemic and some politicians in North
Carolina believe this fearful rhetoric. However, research shows that there the facts are that there
have been fewer than three instances of voter fraud in North Carolina in the past five years that
could have been prevented by voter ID. However, when voter ID was enacted in 2013 in North
Carolina, more than 1,000 eligible voters were unable to vote because they did not have the
“right” identification, meaning that this proposed amendment is harming many more people than
it is helping.

Whom, do both the discriminatory 2013 law and this 2018 amendment to resurrect it target the
most? The elderly, poor people, Black people, and college students. College IDs were not an
acceptable form of identification in 2013, signifying that hundreds of college students could lose
their right to vote if voter ID were put in place. Therefore, when the N.C. General Assembly
(NCGA) tells us to vote on a vague constitutional amendment that does not even explain which
forms of identification will be accepted at the polls, they are doing nothing more than trying to
fool us into signing a blank check that could lead to the suppression our vote. We should refuse
to sign.

Not satisfied with an extreme photo ID requirement, the NCGA has also included a
constitutional amendment for so-called “merit-based” appointment of judges. While this sounds
like a good proposition, legislative leaders have admitted to using this as a way to eliminate our
ability to vote for judges altogether. This means that this constitutional amendment is nothing
more than a political power grab that stifles the voices of the people in favor or partisan gain
once again.

As a young Black woman, it was hard to experience a summer filled with information showing
me how much this system is built against me and those who look like me. Regardless of this
struggle, I had a fantastic support group through Democracy North Carolina that helped me to
realize that there is hope. As long as all eligible young voters and voters of color get out and vote
against these proposed changes to our constitution at the end of our ballots this fall, we will be able to win this fight and show politicians in Raleigh what a democracy for the people should
look like in every corner of our state.