North Carolina Citizens Sue for Their Right to Vote
On November 20, 2019, Protect Democracy, Forward Justice, and Arnold & Porter filed a lawsuit on behalf of six individuals and several nonprofit organizations. These organizations include the Community Success Initiative, Justice Served NC, Inc., the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, and Wash Away Unemployment, who work to re-enfranchise citizens denied the right to vote under North Carolina’s felon disenfranchisement law.
The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy, but for too long people with prior felony convictions have been denied that right. This lawsuit challenges a North Carolina law that prevents citizens from voting until their “unconditional discharge” from probation or parole—often years after their release from incarceration. Approximately 60,000 North Carolina citizens live and work in their communities, but are unable to vote because they were once convicted of a felony and are still on probation or parole, often because they are simply unable to pay fines or court fees. The law disproportionately harms Black people and other people of color. These are taxpayers without representation and citizens stripped of the right to shape the laws that regulate their daily lives. This lawsuit seeks to unlock the ballot for all North Carolinians.
“The disenfranchisement of citizens with prior felony convictions has long been a moral stain on our democracy,” said Farbod Faraji, Counsel at Protect Democracy. “It is long past time to put an end to this unjust practice, which has sought to mute the voices of tens of thousands of predominantly Black and Brown people who live right alongside us but have been relegated to second-class citizenship. This modern day version of Jim Crow must end today.
- Order on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction (September 4, 2020).
- Order on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment (September 4, 2020).
- Plaintiffs’ Reply Brief in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment (August 26, 2020)
- Press Release – N.C. Council of Churches Urge Elected Leaders and State Board of Elections to Restore and Protect Voting Rights (July 30, 2020)
- Amicus Brief of the Sentencing Project, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Liberties Under Law, and Southern Poverty Law Center (July 24, 2020)
- Amicus Brief of the North Carolina Justice Center and Down Home North Carolina (July 24, 2020)
- Amicus Brief of the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution at John Jay College (July 24, 2020)
- Amicus Brief of CATO Institute, R Street Institute, and Due Process Institute (June 24, 2020)
- Motion to Establish a Three-Judge Panel (June 5, 2020)
- Amicus Brief of the District of Columbia, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Nevada (May 22, 2020)
- Press Release – Motion for Summary Judgement (May 11, 2020)
- Expert Report of Orville Vernon Burton (May 11, 2020)
- Expert Report of Frank R Baumgartner (May 11, 2020)
- Expert Report of Dr. Traci Burch (May 11, 2020)
- Exhibits to Summary Judgment Motion (May 11, 2020)
- Motion for Summary Judgement (May 11, 2020)
- Amended Complaint (filed Dec. 3, 2019)
- Letter Requesting a Three Judge Panel (filed Nov. 20, 2019)
- Complaint (filed Nov. 20, 2019)
- Press Release – Filing (Nov. 20, 2019)
Civil Rights Groups File Summary Judgment Motion in case to Restore Voting Rights to Nearly 60,000 North Carolinians Ahead of the November Election
Lawsuit filed in North Carolina to ensure all citizens can exercise their right to vote.
Protect Democracy is proud to be part of a coalition fighting to re-enfranchise citizens who are denied the right to vote under North Carolina’s felon disenfranchisement law.
Order on Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment
Order on Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction
Plaintiffs' Reply Brief in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
Press Release: N.C. Council of Churches Urge Elected Leaders and State Board of Elections to Restore and Protect Voting Rights
Community Success Initiative v. Moore — Complaint
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Editorial: Felons who've served their prison time should be able to vote after release
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Local policy center working to restore the voting rights of nearly 60,000 North Carolinians
Released felons under supervision are barred from voting. Let them be heard.
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