This past March, 700 Democracy North Carolina volunteers spread out across the state to assure that no voter was illegally turned away from the polls on account of the state’s 2013 voter ID law. In addition to providing voters with information on their rights, volunteers also handed out short surveys asking voters about their experience.
This month, Democracy North Carolina has released findings that, they say, suggest the law had a negative impact on North Carolina voters. According to the organization’s website “1,419 provisional ballots cast were not counted during the March Primary because North Carolina voters did not have acceptable photo ID under the new rules.” They also said black voters were significantly less likely to have IDs.
Provisional ballots have to be validated before they can actually by counted in an election. Those who voted provisionally had until the day their county canvassed to present valid ID to the board of elections. In Buncombe County at least, that was a week later.
In contrast, Democracy North Carolina found “over 29,000 voters were able to participate in the March Primary by using either Same-Day Registration or Out-of-Precinct provisional voting.” These two voter “safety nets,” however, will be eliminated for the November General Election by the General Assembly’s 2013 voting law, unless overturned by a pending appeal in federal court.
The organization also found that confusion around the ID law contributed to administrative problems at the polls. According to Democracy North Carolina’s website, such confusion led to delays that “led voters to leave without voting.”
One instance of confusion at the polls that the organization cited in their findings involved Darlene Azarmi, a registered voter in Buncombe County and Democracy North Carolina’s Western North Carolina field organizer. “[She] was initially told she could not vote because she had lost her N.C. driver’s license. She was eventually given a provisional ballot without the “reasonable impediment” declaration. Only after personally visiting her county Board of Elections Director was Ms. Azarmi able to have her vote counted. Unlike Ms. Azarmi, most voters have not been trained in state voting procedures.”
Because of this new information, the organization has filed an amicus brief asking the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a lower court ruling and overturn North Carolina’s 2013 voting law prior to the November General Election.
For additional information visit: nc-democracy.org