92-Year-Old Fighting Voter Suppression

by Lane Florsheim

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (R) signed the worst voter suppression bill in the country into law Monday, and the dynamic 92-year-old Rosanell Eaton is already fighting the harmful law. Eaton is one of several individuals, along with civil rights groups, suing the state over the highly restrictive laws.

Because the name on Eaton's birth certificate is different from the name on her driver's license and voter registration card, she may not qualify for the voter ID card required by the new law. Resolving the discrepancy would be both expensive and time-consuming.

Just to give you an idea of the dozens of changes the law brings: a strict voter I.D. requirement prohibiting citizens who don’t have a proper photo I.D. from casting a ballot, eliminating same-day voter registration (which enabled voters to register at the polls), cutting early voting by a week, allowing citizens to only vote in their specific precinct, preventing counties from extending polling hours in the event of long lines, and greatly increasing the number of "poll observers." (ThinkProgress caught the Romney campaign training poll observers to mislead voters in Wisconsin back in 2012.)

Though conservative politicians argue voter suppression laws aren't racist (Rand Paul said Wednesday he doesn't believe "there is any particular evidence of polls barring African Americans from voting") the numbers in North Carolina point to the contrary. For example, 56 percent of North Carolinians voted early in 2012, including a disproportionate number of minorities. A full 10 percent of North Carolinians lack a photo I.D., and a third those who do are black, and half are registered Democrats.

The restrictions are especially ridiculous when you take into account all of 0.0023 percent of votes are the product of voter fraud.

Before the law passed, Eaton participated in Moral Monday protests with other North Carolinians to oppose a variety of recent conservative policy initiatives that would hurt pretty much anyone who is not an old white guy. Eaton was back at it Tuesday morning to protest the bill's passage, speaking to a large crowd.

"Here I am at 92-years-old doing the same battling,” she told the crowd. “I have registered over 4,000 citizens in the state, and at it again, alongside Republicans’ efforts to eliminate and cut early voting. … We need more, not less, public access to the ballot."

Watch her moving remarks below.