We are disappointed but not deterred. We will be at the General Assembly on May 2nd to make our voices heard.
What are the next steps, what should we do now?
Effective, July 27th, 2022, ANY North Carolina citizen on probation, parole, or post-release supervision became immediately eligible to register and vote. On Thursday, February 2nd, 2023, the North Carolina Supreme Court will hear CSI v. Moore oral arguments. This historic voting rights case will determine if NC citizens on probation, parole, or post-release supervision for felony convictions will be allowed to keep their right to register and vote.
We need you to show up with us and pack the court!
This summer, Forward Justice and our coalition partners launched the ‘Unlock Our Vote Freedom Summer Tour’, holding community events across the state to register hundreds of newly re-enfranchised voters. This historic voting rights expansion gave a voice to thousands, and we encourage people to continue and register to vote as our victory remains in place. Watch the Freedom Summer Kickoff rally below:
Unlock Our Vote Freedom Summer Tour Coalition partners:
Advance NC, Black Voters Matter, Community Success Initiative, Emancipate Votes, Forward Justice Action Network, Justice Served NC, NC ACLU, NC Community Bail Fund of Durham, NC Justice Center, NC NAACP, NC Second Chance Alliance, Poor People’s Campaign, Repairers of the Breach, Wash Away Unemployment, You Can Vote
Did you come out to register during freedom summer? Want to tell us your story?
If you’re directly impacted by this ruling and would like to share your story about what voting means to you, please use this form, or email: email@example.com
2024 will be another critically important year for our democracy. Registering to vote now ensures you’ll be ready to make your voice heard. The resources below provide information on how to register, important election dates and deadlines, and any upcoming voter registration drives in your community.
Register to Vote!
You may register to vote online through the NCDMV, by mail, by dropping your form off at your county board of elections office, or in-person during early voting. The resources below will help ensure you have everything you need to exercise your vote. The regular deadline to register to vote in North Carolina is 25 days before an election.
Resources and information
Overview of the campaign and case
The Unlock Our Vote campaign centers on ensuring that thousands of people in our state directly impacted by the criminal legal system have a civic voice and are able to participate in our democracy. Our democracy cannot be truly representative of the will of the people with so many of our community members disenfranchised and unable to participate in the democratic process. Forward Justice launched the Unlock Our Vote campaign in an effort to expand the “We” in “We the people” and make our democracy more inclusive and representative.
In November 2019, Forward Justice filed a lawsuit on behalf of four organizational plaintiffs and six individual plaintiffs in Wake County Superior Court, seeking to reinstate voting rights for over 55,000 North Carolinians previously convicted of felonies who live in our communities but had not been restored the right to vote due to an unconstitutional felony disenfranchisement law.
- In September 2020, a three-judge panel issued a preliminary injunction ruling that an inability to pay court fines and fees should not impact a person’s right to register and vote. Thousands of people on community supervision whose probation or parole had been extended due to inability to pay court fines and fees were able to register to vote.
- During the trial that began August 16th, 2021, our Co-Director Daryl Atkinson argued that the existing law is racially discriminatory in its intent and has a disparate impact on Black people, excluding them from full participation in our democracy.
- On August 23rd, 2021, a three-judge panel modified the existing preliminary injunction in the case, allowing all North Carolinians on probation, parole, or post-release supervision for felony convictions to immediately begin to register to vote and vote in North Carolina elections.
- On September 3rd, 2021, a panel of the NC Court of Appeals issued an order halting the CSI v. Moore amended Preliminary Injunction. The entire superior court panel unanimously denied an earlier request for a stay from the Legislative Defendants; but the Court of Appeals order blocks more than 56,000 people in North Carolina, disproportionately African American, from accessing their fundamental right to vote – on the eve of municipal elections.
- On September 10th, 2021, the North Carolina Supreme Court denied our request to fully reinstate the voting rights restoration injunction won on August 23rd. While we are disappointed in that decision, we are pleased that all people on felony probation, parole, or post release supervision who registered to vote from August 23rd to September 3rd must be considered eligible voters and will be able to vote legally.
- On March 28th, 2022, the Court ruled 2-1 that the state’s current felony disenfranchisement law violates two clauses of the state constitution, unlocking the votes of over 55,000 North Carolinians with Felony Convictions.
- On April 5th, 2022, the NC Court of Appeals issued an order halting the CSI v. Moore Final Order. The superior/trial court panel denied the legislative defendants’ request for a stay; but the NC Court of Appeals order blocks more than 56,000 people in North Carolina, disproportionately African American, from accessing their fundamental right to vote, until further review by the court. While we are disappointed in the court’s decision, we are prepared to continue this fight to protect voting rights. We have filed a bypass petition to take this case directly to the NC Supreme Court.
- On April 26th, 2022, The North Carolina Court of Appeals partially granted defendants’ request to stay, or halt, an order expanding voting rights- but only through the upcoming primary elections on May 17th and July 26th, 2022. After that, the court ordered that the State Board of Elections (SBOE) must fully implement the trial court’s March 28th final judgment and order, and allow people with prior felony convictions, who are not currently incarcerated for a felony conviction, to register and vote. While plaintiffs and advocates were advocating for a full denial of the request for a stay at the Court of Appeals – and are continuing to press for full review by the North Carolina Supreme Court –they say that this most recent ruling moves them one step closer to the full restoration of voting rights for community members who have been directly impacted by the criminal legal system.
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