North Carolina state Senator Ellie Kinnaird (D) resigned on Monday after 17 years of service. Her decision came, in part, as a response to North Carolina Republicans’ attempts at voter suppression. Kinnaird will work to reverse voter suppression legislation like the restrictive Voter ID law passed last Monday, which many have argued represses the minority and youth vote.
Last week, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (R) signed into law a Voter ID bill that has been described as possibly the worst of the recently-approved voter suppression bills in the nation. The law requires voters to present government-issued photo identification a the poll. It also shortens the early voting period from 17 to 10 days, and eliminates pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds who will be 18 on Election Day.
The Supreme Court’s decision in July on Shelby v. Holder, effectively dissolving the power of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), has led to the passage of voter suppression laws across the country. Not since 1965, and the passage of the VRA, have voters faced as much discrimination and suppression as today.
After nine terms of service, Senator Kinnaird announced, on her website, that what led her to the decision to resign was “the actions taken by the Republican majority in the legislature that has been a shocking reversal of the many progressive measures that I and many others have worked so hard to enact.”
From the Republicans’ denial of health care security for our people to their failure to promote a vibrant work force through support for our education systems at all levels and from their tax cuts for the wealthy and their tax increases for the poor and middle class to their efforts to deny people their right to vote, they have been pursuing a divisive and, I think, immoral agenda. The needless pain and suffering the Republicans have brought upon us… add up to a huge setback for North Carolinians from all walks of life.
Kinnaird said that she will take her retirement to focus on grassroots efforts to fight for the rights that the citizens of North Carolina deserve, combating the special interests. Specifically, she is working on a grass roots effort to ensure that everyone in the state has an adequate voter ID “so that no votes are denied, even though the Voter ID bill is aimed at exactly that – repressing the vote.”