Rosanell Eaton, jailed at 92 for protesting voting law.
North Carolina's Republican controlled legislature and Governor wasted no time last year in rewriting election laws after the Supreme Court effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote, freeing nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval.
With hundreds of campaigns in North Carolina entering their final six weeks of a federal appeals court must now decide what kind of election the state will hold.
The outcome of the appeal could have nationwide ramifications: were the new voter ID law to be allowed to stand it could become a template for conservative reforms across the country ahead of the 2016 presidential race.
Will [this fall's election] be run under North Carolina’s old voting laws? Or will state voters cast ballots under the controversial set of rules passed last year?
The answer now rests with three judges – two from the Carolinas – from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. For two hours in Charlotte on Thursday, judges Diana Motz of Maryland, Henry Floyd of South Carolina and James Wynn of Martin County heard point and counterpoint in the state’s ongoing battle over the vote. http://www.newsobserver.com/...
"In court documents the plaintiffs – including the NAACP, represented by the Advancement Project, and the League of Women Voters, represented by the ACLU – set out the various ways in which the new law, HB 589, throws obstacles in the path of potential voters. It reduces the number of early voting days; imposes a requirement, to go into effect in 2016, that voters show photo ID cards at the polls [college IDs are not valid]; eliminates the ability to register to vote and then cast a ballot on the same day; invalidates any ballot cast by an individual outside her or his precinct; encourages strangers to challenge the eligibility of people standing in line to vote; and scraps a program to pre-register teenagers ahead of their 18th birthdays."
Passed by Republicans in the final hours of the 2013 legislative session, the changes going into effect this year eliminate same-day registration during early voting, reduce the early-voting period by a week and voids ballots cast on Election Day outside of a person's home precinct. Political parties also can send in more observers to monitor voting.
In NC, the governor controls county boards of election and guess what, many polling places, precincts, have been changed; consequently voiding ballots cast outside home precincts is going to hurt; plus we can expect strong-armed tactics by "more observers."
"Add this to the discriminatory redistricting maps that are segregating voting precincts, and some are saying that the voting landscape in North Carolina is as bleak as it has been since the Jim Crow era. Not surprisingly, the people most impacted by all of these changes are women and people of color.
Republicans veil their true intentions by screaming voter fraud; instead, they should brandish shiny cross-burning label pins on their slick suit-coats; their obvious racism fools no one.
Leading the charge and a plaintiff is 93-year-old Rosanell Eaton.
Rosanell Eaton was talking to her daughter at home in Louisburg, North Carolina, not long ago when she suddenly lowered her voice and looked strangely deflated. “You know, all of this is coming back around before I could get in the ground,” she said. “I was hoping I would be dead before I’d have to see all this again.”
She was referring to the turbulent years of her childhood growing up in the 1920s and 1930s in the Jim Crow south. She went to a segregated school, drank water from a fountain marked “blacks” in the town square. Her family’s plot of tobacco and cotton fields was, according to her daughter, the only land in the neighbourhood owned by African Americans and, tiny though it was, bitterly resented by white neighbours. More than once she woke up to the sight of charred crosses in the yard.
And then there was the day in 1939 when Rosanell turned 18 and gained the right to vote. She was a vibrant young woman, eager to learn and engage with the world, and determined to have her electoral say at the first chance. But when she arrived at Franklin County courthouse, she was met by three white officials.
“What are you here for, young lady?” one of them asked.
“I’m here to register to vote,” she said.
The men looked at each other, then back at her. “Stand in front of us,” she was instructed. “Look directly at us. Don’t turn your head to the right, nor to the left. Now repeat the preamble to the constitution of the United States.”
It was a common ruse at the time, one of several that electoral officials used to deprive black people of the vote. Aspiring black voters would be asked to count beans in a barrel, or name their state’s entire congressional delegation. If they couldn’t, they were turned away. But Eaton just stood there and recited from memory the preamble to the US constitution, without a glitch.
“Well, little lady,” one of the officials conceded. “You did it.” http://www.theguardian.com/...
In searching, I've found only perfunctory coverage in NC's 'big press.' But there is a leading story in which our Gov. Pat McCrory says that we don't need any more journalists...
McCrory: there’s too many journalists in North Carolina
By Eric Frazier, Charlottee Observer, Friday, Sep. 26, 2014
Gov. Pat McCrory hasn’t gotten the memo about the heavy cuts the journalism field has undergone in recent years.
He went to Charlotte, Greensboro and Cary Thursday to unveil a new workforce training effort. State and local officials will visit 1,000 companies in all 100 counties in the next 100 days to ask them what skills they need workers to have.
During the Charlotte stop, he said the state needs more workers skilled in advanced manufacturing, science-, math- and technology-related fields. At the Greensboro stop, he expanded on the theme to add some fields where the state doesn’t need more workers.
“We’ve frankly got enough psychologists and sociologists and political science majors and journalists. With all due respect to journalism, we’ve got enough. We have way too many,” he said, prompting laughs from the audience.
Well Governor, we are not laughing! And the following is for you and your Republican legislature; please read and memorize at you leisure...
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.