By: Colin Seeberger
There’s been a lot of talk lately about efforts to restrict the right to vote in North Carolina. Specifically, new legislation will require voters to show photo ID, limits early and ends Sunday voting, and eliminates voter preregistration. Just last week, the Department of Justice filed suit to invalidate the law because it would disproportionately burden minority and student voters and, according to Attorney General Holder, “shrink, rather than expand, access” to voting.
But the Attorney General isn’t the only one voicing an opinion. Last month, students from all over North Carolina traveled to Raleigh to have their voices heard at a State Board of Elections meeting,
Saint Augustine University junior, Jarius Page, was among the dozens of students that attended the meeting. When asked why he felt it necessary to attend the meeting, Page said, “We have a voice in our community, and it’s important that we be heard, because it’s our future. I believe that we should have a say.”
Before the Board of Elections meeting, students at Duke and UNC (arch rivals for anyone that doesn’t watch college basketball) came together to protest against North Carolina’s new voter ID law. According to a joint statement released by both student governments, the new law would “restrict the use of college student IDs to vote” and make it harder to vote for North Carolina students.
The new law would also put an end to voter preregistration for 16 and 17 year-olds. Expressing frustration with this new provision, Derek Rhodes, a junior at Duke, said, “I registered to vote when I was 16 and I was so excited about being part of the electoral process, and me and a couple of my friends at the time went to the Board of Elections and registered to vote. I remember this feeling of inclusion and excitement. I want students to have that same feeling that I had.”
In addition to the new voter ID law, local elections boards have tried to serve their own partisan interests by attempting to prevent college students from running for office. Just last Tuesday, Elizabeth City State University Senior Montravias King was elected to the City Council in Elizabeth City. King’s election came after the county elections board denied him the right to run for the office because he listed his residency as his dorm room address—the same address he is registered to vote at.
Young people are speaking up and refusing to sit on the sidelines– and they are inspiring us here at Young Invincibles.
Young Invincibles is dedicated to amplifying the voices of our generation, so we’ve launched an occasional blog series titled “Youth Voices Against Injustice.” The series is aimed at lifting up the voices of young people taking on an injustice in their community. Above is the second in the series; click here to check out our first blog from guest contributor Italia Aranda.
Know other young people speaking up in their communities? Email Jessica Adair at Jessica.Adair@YoungInvincibles.org.