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NC Citizens Get Graded on Whether They Vote

Photo: Sample Voter Report Card being sent to NC homes this week. Courtesy: Southern Coalition for Social Justice
Photo: Sample Voter Report Card being sent to NC homes this week. Courtesy: Southern Coalition for Social Justice
October 28, 2013

RALEIGH, N.C. - It may have been a while since many North Carolinians got a report card, but some will this week, grading how much they have exercised their right to vote. Fifty-thousand mailers will go out. The organization behind the effort hopes it will encourage people to "up their score" by voting in their local elections on Nov. 5, explained Chris Ketchie, policy analyst, Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

"It just sort of motivates people that they want to get a better score, and they sort of see how they're doing, compared to their precincts," Ketchie said.

The mailers are meant to remind people that their neighbors are voting, and it's in their best interest to have their voice heard, as well, Ketchie added. Although a new voting law passed earlier this year requiring state-issued photo IDs, Ketchie and others are reminding voters that the law does not take effect until 2016.

Voter turnout is traditionally low for local elections - averaging 16 percent in recent years - but the votes cast have a big impact, he added.

"I think local elections, a lot of times they have more impact on people's everyday lives than a large national election or a statewide election," Ketchie said.

Last week, the state's new voting law was featured in a segment on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." It resulted in the resignation of Buncombe County GOP precinct chair Don Yelton. On the show, Yelton stated that the state's voter ID laws would "kick the Democrats in the butt," and he made reference to "lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything." Yelton said his words were taken out of context.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC