Lawsuit Filed: Down Home Challenges Voter Suppression Law

No matter where you live or if you are Black, white, or Brown, rural North Carolinians want to be civically engaged and have a say in our government. The right to have your vote count is the most basic form of this engagement. At Down Home, we organize in rural communities where poor and working-class people are committed to participating in their democracy. This bill makes it harder and sometimes even impossible for rural voters to do that– and that is why Down Home has filed this lawsuit asking for an injunction against S.B. 747.

When poor and working class folks exercise their right to vote, incredible things can happen in our communities. That’s why Down Home has taken a stance and initiated the federal lawsuit against S.B. 747. We firmly believe that all votes count – regardless of race or place. The rich and powerful in North Carolina have long tried to control who can vote and whose vote counts. From Jim Crow laws to the more recent infamous gerrymandering efforts to strict voter ID laws, working class people have been working tirelessly to protect our fundamental right to vote. This week, Down Home North Carolina took a significant step towards achieving that goal by filing a lawsuit against Senate Bill 747 (S.B. 747)

On Tuesday, the supermajority in Raleigh overrode Governor Cooper’s veto and pushed  through SB 747, legislation that would hurt our right to vote. This legislation is part of a larger strategy that has become a massive threat to same-day voter registrants in the state, placing our rights at risk. 

Dreama Caldwell, the Co-Director of Down Home North Carolina, spoke out about the harmful impact this provision has on our rural communities and working class voters. She said, “This provision is part of a larger assault on our democracy, and we refuse to stay silent. We’re standing tall with our co-plaintiffs, fighting against legislation that makes it harder for North Carolinians to exercise their right to vote.”

To help with this fight, Down Home North Carolina has teamed up with the Elias Law Group. Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include The Watauga County Voting Rights Task Force, Voto Latino, and Christina Barrow. Aria Branch, a partner at the Elias Law Group, explained that same-day voter registration is essential for engaging marginalized groups who’ve been left out of the electoral process. She said, “Senate Bill 747 is a full-on attack on the same-day registration process. It could disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters in North Carolina without giving them a fair chance, often because of mistakes they can’t control.” We’re so grateful to the Elias Law Group for representing us and making sure the rights of North Carolina voters are protected.

Mark Elias, a partner at the Elias Group, made a bold statement on the Brian Tyler Cohen show. He said, “If they so much as touch a single comma of the Voting Right Act or engage in racial gerrymandering that’s unconstitutional, we’ll be right back in court with them.” You can check out his full interview on the Brian Tyler Cohen show here.

The lawsuit by Down Home North Carolina against S.B. 747 is a critical effort to protect our fundamental right to vote. We can’t let anyone suppress our participation or undermine the democratic process. It’s about preserving the legitimacy of our elections. By holding the line, this lawsuit can hopefully act as a critical precedent for others around the country in protecting every citizen’s right to vote.