In 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly repealed same day registration in a measure creating several barriers to the ballot and dismantling much of the state’s work to modernize voting. The greatest impact of this decision fell most directly on communities of color - 41% of the North Carolinians who used same day registration to register and vote in 2012 were African-American. According to Demos, a total of around 250,000 residents used same day registration in the 2012 presidential election alone, and North Carolina’s voter participation rate rose 8 percent after the program was enacted - the largest increase in the nation in 2008.
Despite the repeal, the people of North Carolina continued to challenge attacks on their voting rights and champion the success of same day registration in the state. As NC NAACP President Rev. William Barber II said, “You can’t take government of the people, by the people, from the people,” and he was right. On July 29, 2016, in a stunning victory for voting rights and civil rights, a federal appeals court found that the 2013 law violated the Voting Rights Act and that the law was passed with discriminatory intent. Because the law that instituted the discriminatory voter-ID standards was the same one that repealed same day registration, the court's decision temporarily restores the right for North Carolinians to vote early and register on Election Day in November 2016.
The fight isn't over yet, though - activists and advocates in North Carolina are working to get the word out and educate the people of North Carolina on what same day registration means for them.