Press Release

NAACP to Hold People’s Hearing for Voting Rights in Birmingham

May 10, 2019

On May 13, the NAACP, a member of the W.K. Kellogg Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative, will hold a People’s Hearing on voting rights in Birmingham, Alabama. At the hearing, Birmingham-area residents will publicly share their personal experiences facing voting rights interference and barriers at the polls – which disproportionately impact historically disenfranchised voters and communities of color.

Since the devastating 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder, states have instituted restrictive voting laws that weaken protections for voters in Alabama and across the country – including a restrictive photo ID law in Alabama.

“As we approach the 2020 presidential election, and as Congresswoman Marcia Fudge holds listening sessions across the country to hear from voters on the state of our electoral process, we are also holding our own People’s Hearings to help shed light on discriminatory voting practices in Alabama,” said Sheila E. Isong, NAACP Director of Civic Engagement. “Communities of color have encountered a longstanding history of racially discriminatory and oppressive laws that limit access to voting – and it’s only getting worse. Our hearing will give Alabama voters a chance to share their stories and demand full and equal access at the polls. We will not be silenced – and we WILL be counted.”

Shelby County, located within the Birmingham metropolitan area, sued the U.S. Attorney General over two sections in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in a case that made it to the Supreme Court in 2013. The court’s decision in favor of Shelby County significantly weakened the decades-old law by striking down the coverage formula which determined federal “preclearance” requirements that forced states and counties with a history of race-based voting laws to have to prove that any new election rules would not discriminate based on race. Since the ruling, states across the country, including Alabama, Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and many others, have instituted restrictive voting measures that unfairly target and affect communities of color, impeding their abilities to register, vote, and impact national and local issues.

Disenfranchised voters are also at risk of losing many basic rights if they are not counted in the 2020 United States census survey. Crucial decisions are made from data gathered in the decennial census — including how schools, fire departments, and other public services in the community are funded, as well as representation in the United States Congress. Communities of color have historically been underrepresented in the voting booth and in the U.S. census, with devastating consequences.

Monday’s hearing will be held at the Birmingham Urban League, 1229 3rd Ave N in Birmingham from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. All are encouraged to attend and tell their stories of voter infringement and interference.

In addition to the hearings, the Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative has launched WeVoteWeCount.org, a website where voters can share their past experiences facing interference at the polls, difficulties registering to vote, and other barriers to voting. To submit a story or learn more about this critical voting rights effort, please visit WeVoteWeCount.org, and engage on social media with the hashtag #WeVoteWeCount.

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About WeVoteWeCount.Org

WeVoteWeCount.org is a digital platform designed to give voters a place to share stories of interference at the polls, difficulties registering to vote, and other barriers to voting. Communities of color have faced a longstanding history of racially discriminatory laws that limit access to voting; WeVoteWeCount.org will shed light on these unfair practices and spark change ahead of the 2020 presidential election and 2020 census so that every voice is heard – and counted. WeVoteWeCount.org is an initiative launched by the Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative: Advancement Project, Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Demos, Faith In Action, NAACP, National Congress of American Indians, National Urban League, Race Forward and UnidosUS.

About the W.K. Kellogg Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative

Advancement Project, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Demos, Faith in Action, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Congress of American Indians, National Urban League, Race Forward, and UnidosUS are a collaborative of nine leading national racial equity anchor organizations (the Anchors) supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Together, we work to promote racial equity, advance racial healing, and ensure that all children, families, and communities have opportunities to reach their full potential.

About the NAACP

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting NAACP.org.