Nov. 3, Election Day, is coming up fast. As of Oct. 17, over one million North Carolinians have cast their ballot for president, governor, U.S. Senate and countless other state and local races.
For centuries, different generations of Americans have been fighting for the right to vote, a fight that continues to this day. The 15th, 19th, and 26th Amendments respectively gave men, women and American citizens over the age of 18 the right to vote. Other lesser-known amendments, such as the 17th, 23rd, and 24th also expanded the right to vote to many Americans. The 17th Amendment allowed for citizens to vote for their U.S. Senator instead of senators being appointed, the 23rd gave Washington, D.C. a voice in presidential elections, and the 24th abolished the poll tax.
Despite these advancements, voter suppression still reigns in this nation. In North Carolina, a voter identification law passed in 2018 when it was on the ballot, but was later struck down by federal and state courts. Though voter ID laws sound good in theory, they’re often passed due to the false narrative that voter fraud is in droves. In reality, the rate of voter fraud is somewhere between 0.0003 to 0.0025%, meaning that it’s extremely rare. Photo IDs are hard to obtain in certain communities, making voters ineligible to vote. So why pass voter ID laws? Because they make it harder for minorities and poor people to vote. Ever since the Supreme Court dismantled parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 back in 2013, Southern states started to pass problematic voter ID laws. North Carolina tried to join the ranks in 2018 before being shut down.
Because the voter ID law failed in North Carolina, many North Carolinian voters no longer have to have an ID to vote. Early voting has started, so make sure you get out to vote, no matter who you support. President Harry Truman once said: “A vote is the best way of getting the kind of country and the kind of world you want.” Early voting ends October 31st, with Election Day falling on Nov. 3.