North Carolina, we’re 41 days away from the election and its time for us to raise up for a feminist future! There’s much at stake for us in this election-voting rights, access to affordable college, police violence and more! I created this factsheet for important information you need to know before you head out to the polls on Nov 8th. Get informed and get in formation to #VoteFeminist!
North Carolina has been under pressure since 2013, when a host of conservative lawmakers passed many restrictive laws and policies. This election is our time to act. Here are four key issues your vote will affect!
Access to Affordable College/ Access to Historically Black Colleges and Universities
- In North Carolina, public education is under attack. There is currently moving legislation called the “Access to Affordable Education Act” (S.B.873) which offers four UNC system schools the option of lowering tuition for traditional students to 1,000.00 a semester. $500 of the tuition falls on the family, and the other half falls onto the General Assembly to cover the gap. However, three of the schools offered in the legislation are HBCU’s (Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, and Winston-Salem State University) and two schools (Western Carolina University and University of North Carolina-Pembroke) are historically American Indian and minority serving institutions.
- By moving to reduce the tuition of already under supported institutions, this legislation is aiming to either turn these schools into community colleges when they cannot financially sustain themselves as universities or shut them down completely, a strategy that is mirroring earlier moves to shut down portions of the UNC system altogether. On top of this, while the university system is much more affordable than private college, tuition and fees have risen by 4.3% and will most likely be raised again, as North Carolina is being piloted as a test run for privatized public education in the South and the current UNC system president elect operates on a “students as customers” model. The NC GAP Provision has already passed and will go into effect next year-it is set to defer “low performing” students to community colleges for a year rather than letting them into the university system; a plan that will effect predominately minority students, military students and students from rural counties.
- House Bill 2 or “The Bathroom Bill” is a bill that was passed in a special session on March 23rd, reversing two locally passed city council ordinances-a non discrimination ordiance based upon gender expression in Charlotte and a $15.00 an hour minimum wage increase passed in Greensboro. HB2 nullifies both ordinances and takes away the ability of city councils to pass ordinances that aren’t approved by the General Assembly.
- The bill has had disastrous effects on the state, with many businesses and events pulling out of North Carolina. The federal lawsuit that the Department of Justice has opened against the State of North Carolina will effect the University of North Carolina system and the education system as a whole, with the state set to lose millions of dollars in Title IX and Violence Against Women funding.
Access to Abortion and Birth Control
- In 2013, S.B. 353, or the “Motorcycle Abortion Bill”, was passed. This bill is still intact and imposes additional restrictions on abortion clinics. Some of the current regulations include a 72 hour waiting period and state mandated counseling before accessing care and a requirement for abortion providers who perform abortions after the 16th week of pregnancy to submit ultrasounds to the State Department of Health and Human Services. Some schools refer students to fake clinics known as Crisis Pregnancy Centers rather than to actual healthcare providers.
- The 2015 Women and Children’s Protection Act (H.B.465)- Section 7(a) of the Women and Children’s Protection Act of 2015 states that “during the first 20 weeks of a woman’s pregnancy, to advise, procure or cause a miscarriage or abortion when the procedure is performed by a qualified physician licensed to practice medicine in North Carolina in a hospital or clinic certified by the department of health and human services to be a suitable facility for the performance of abortions.”The Department of Health and Human Services must perform annual inspections of abortion clinics, NC physicians must record gestational age if performing abortion after 16 weeks and health care providers can refuse to perform an abortion on the basis of moral ground. Currently there is also a 72 hour waiting period and “informed consent” script healthcare providers must read to patients seeking abortions, mirroring what many other conservative states are facing as well.
Police Brutality and State Sanctioned Violence
- House Bill 972 was passed on June 30th, 2016-the bill seeks to“…provide that recordings made by law enforcement agencies are not public records, to establish whether, to whom, and what portions of a recording may be disclosed or a copy released.” This bill came out in the wake of the murders of Keith Lamont Scott and Justin Carr in Charlotte last week by Charlotte Mecklenburg Police and continues to strain issues of transparency between law enforcement and the communities they aim to serve.
- North Carolina is ranked sixth in the nation for people killed by police in 2016. To date, there have been 26 people killed by police in the state that we know of. Nationwide, 798 people have been killed by police in the US in 2016. According to The Guardian, 4.88% per million of those people are black. This is certainly not the first time that black people have experienced state sanctioned violence in North Carolina, most notably the cases of Jonathan Ferrell, Janisha Fonville, and Jesus “Chuy” Huerta were not brought to justice in the state in the past 3 years.
- The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down North Carolina’s voting ID laws and requirements over the summer. The ID laws will not be in effect for this general election, however you may encounter harassment at the polls. Be mindful that early voting has still been shortened to two weeks, Sunday voting is still gone, and same day registration is not available.
- If you’re experiencing harassment or discrimination at the polls, call 866-OURVOTE to report your experience or find an election protection worker to report your experience to.
Where’s my Polling Place?
Not sure of where your polling place is? Wanting to verify your registration? Check out the NC State Board of Elections to verify your registration, locate your polling place, request an absentee ballot and more!
What are some Important Dates I should jot down?
October 27th, 2016-November 5th, 2016: Early voting in the state of NC is open.
October 27th, 2016: In person absentee voting begins in NC.
November 8th: ELECTION DAY!
Students have the power to turn back the tide of injustice in the Land of the Longleaf Pine. When we mobilize, we have strength in numbers that we can use to create the change we want and the communities we need. Take the pledge, get involved and pledge to #VoteFeminist on November 8th! Look out for a Get Out Her Vote Campus Coordinator on a college campus near you, bring the campaign to your campus and help us get out the Feminist vote on Nov. 8th!
Chelsea, HBCU and Southern National Campus Organizer