RALEIGH (August 26, 2021) — On Monday, nearly 56,000 North Carolinians with felony convictions regained their right to vote as the court struck down a Jim Crow-era law in a 2-1 decision.
This victory marks a huge step forward in ending discriminatory legislation that disenfranchises communities disproportionately impacted by the criminal legal system. Twenty percent of North Carolina’s population is Black, but Black people represent 40 percent of people on parole or probation. Excluding a large number of a community’s potential voters — and even going so far as to prosecute them when they try to vote — is a suppression tactic.
Those with felony convictions face numerous barriers to successful reentry, but thanks to the dedication of the plaintiffs and their attorneys, tens of thousands of people will be better able to integrate back into their communities and vote on the issues that impact them most.
While the defendants in the case have filed a stay and plan to appeal, we hope this landmark decision is allowed to stand. Our work has shown us that millions of North Carolinians impacted by the criminal legal system still face numerous obstacles to employment, housing, and other basic needs that would help them thrive and reenter successfully.
Read the amicus brief the North Carolina Justice Center filed in support of the plaintiffs in this case.