NC State Senator Resigns To Fight Voter I.D. Laws

by Lane Florsheim

Former North Carolina state Senator Ellie Kinnaird (D) resigned Monday after 17 years of service in order to work full-time to fight the onslaught of right-wing legislation North Carolina has experienced since Republicans took over the state government in 2010.

Specifically, Kinnaird plans to counter the worst voter suppression law in the country with a grassroots movement helping constituents obtain the proper identification as required by the law, so no votes are denied. Kinnaird wrote a letter to supporters on her website explaining her decision.

What led me to this decision are 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: measures that over the years had made North Carolina a model of moderate-to-progressive, pro-business but also pro-people public policy in the South. 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.
...I am heartened, however, by the many grassroots efforts to fight for the rights, the health and safety and the opportunities our people need and deserve from the Moral Monday movement to the many non-governmental organizations that advocate for the people of our state, not the special interests. It is here that I want and need to put my energy and efforts. I am working with others on a grass-roots project to make sure everyone in the state has a proper voter ID so that no votes are denied, even though the Voter ID bill is aimed at exactly that - repressing the vote... I look forward to working together to change this course and restore our state to the shining beacon it was for so long.

Kinnaird joins inspiring individuals like 92-year-old Rosanell Eaton in the effort to fight the harmful laws. Governor Pat McCrory (R) signed the bill into law two weeks ago, legalizing dozens of discriminatory changes, such as 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, and allowing citizens to only vote in their specific precinct.

A Democratic committee in Kinnaird’s district to will choose Kinnaird's replacement.