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African American Students Sue Alabama For Suppressing Black Vote

Centralized walkway on the campus of Alabama A&M University, known as "The Quad."
Centralized walkway on the campus of Alabama A&M University, known as "The Quad." (Image via Dtg84 at English Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Alabama officials are accused of suppressing black college-aged votes in the recent November election.

Friday, Nov. 9, four African American Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University students filed a lawsuit against Alabama state officials accusing them of denying the students their right to vote. Although the students registered to vote before the deadline, they were asked to cast provisional ballots on Election Day which have not been certified by the state and won’t be count in the recent election, the students claim.

The students, Jordan Jackson, Kendra Jones, Terry Matthews III and Simeon Sykes, believe the officials handled the situation illegally. According to the lawsuit, the students’ experience on Election Day was an attempt to inhibit voting at the local historically black college.

What Does the Lawsuit Allege?

The lawsuit states, “Over 175 provisional ballots were cast at the AAMU polling place. Moreover, the AAMU polling location ran out of provisional ballots multiple times throughout Election Day, leading to hour-plus long wait times to cast provisional ballots and students having to leave without voting.”

Although the secretary of state’s website has the students’ names listed on their voter rolls and the students completed their voter registration prior to the deadline, the students claim poll workers informed them on election day that they were not registered to vote. Poll workers then instructed them to cast provisional ballots, but according to the lawsuit, Alabama’s Secretary of State website has “failed to certify their provisional ballots, meaning they will not be counted.”

The experience led the students, represented by lawyers with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, along with their lead attorney Kerri Johnson Riley, to sue Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, the Madison County Board of Registrars and its chair Lynda Hairston.

The four voters assert that the defendants’ actions violated the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as well as the 14th, 15th and 26th amendments to the Constitution. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed one of the most comprehensive acts of civil rights legislation in U.S. history, the Voting Rights Act of 1965,  to ensure that African Americans were free to exercise their right to vote, as assured by the 15th Amendment.

Senior Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Catherine Meza said in a statement: “Nothing is more fundamental than the right to vote, and these students, despite complying with all of Alabama’s regulations, were denied that right.”

Each of the students registered to vote well before the Oct. 22 deadline, according to the lawsuit. But the plaintiffs were not the only ones to experience difficulty when voting.

Multiple AAMU Students Faced Barriers to Voting

The complaint states, “During the weeks preceding the November 2018 election, many AAMU students experienced barriers to registering to vote, which, on information and belief, are attributable to defendants’ actions. These included unjustified rejections or delayed processing of students’ voter registration applications and students being placed on inactive status for improper reasons.”

The lawsuit continues, “Furthermore, of the black registered voters in Madison County, 70.5 percent are 18-21 years old—college age.”

According to the lawsuit, a predominantly white school in the area, the University of Alabama at Huntsville, experienced no such problems.

However, just one day after the election, the plaintiffs found they were indeed on the voting rolls.

After “Courthouse News” requested comment on Nov. 9, it did not get an immediate response from Secretary of State John Merrill, Chairman of the Board Lynda Hairston or NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Senior Counsel Catherine Meza.

 

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Leighanna Shirey

Leighanna graduated with a degree in English from Pensacola Christian College. After teaching high school English for five years, she decided to pursue her dream of writing and editing. When not working, she enjoys traveling with her husband, spending time with her dogs, and drinking way too much coffee.

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35 Comments

  1. Alvin Lawless November 21, 2018

    WHERES THE PROOF WITH HIGHER TURN OUT IN THE 2016 ELECTION. THEY SHOULD STOP TAKING DRUGS.

    Reply
  2. Patricia Gulifield Segal November 21, 2018

    WTFUP, Republicans do this on a regular basis . RICHARD S

    Reply
    1. Guy Blackwell November 21, 2018

      Patricia Gulifield Segal they don’t count votes 5 days after election over

  3. Gail Ladella November 21, 2018

    Lol

    Reply
  4. Koren Picklesimer November 21, 2018

    Soros at work! lolololol. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣. Nothing new, evil demon demoRATs trying to cheat any way they can, by trying to convince people of lies. You should be ashamed!!

    Reply
    1. Jamie Shiller November 21, 2018

      You must be blind and deaf!!!

    2. Jacquline N Mark Smith November 21, 2018

      Only those that are liberals Jamie Shiller

    3. Shelli Gordon November 21, 2018

      What an ignorant idiot you are! Stop drinking the GOP kool-aid before your brain rots entirely as it’s already well on its way!!

    4. Shelli Gordon November 21, 2018

      Jacquline N Mark Smith What an ignorant idiot you are! Stop drinking the GOP kool-aid before your brain rots entirely as it’s already well on its way!!

    5. Koren Picklesimer November 21, 2018

      Jamie Shiller Enemy!

    6. Koren Picklesimer November 21, 2018

      Shelli Gordon Typical demoRAT, who died and left you in charge of my opinion! Kool-aid?? How childish! Grow up snowflake loser!!!

    7. Jim Barrett November 21, 2018

      Shelli Gordon aaaaand there it is, folks! The name calling! What are you? Six years old?

    8. Joseph Garcia November 21, 2018

      Shelli Gordon ; look who’s ignorant ! U owe Jacquline Smith an apology ! U ppl are something else .

  5. Chari Hayes November 21, 2018

    Stand up! Get in the way! Make some noise!
    Go forward young blood!
    You give me hope.

    Reply
  6. Claudia Cass November 21, 2018

    GOOD.

    Reply
  7. Cheryl Claytor November 21, 2018

    Good for them

    Reply
  8. Mustafa November 21, 2018

    You MUST be saying Africans that became american citizens

    Reply
  9. Cheryl Yeager November 21, 2018

    Good

    Reply
  10. Von De Santo November 21, 2018

    Straight pissed off they ain’t running the plantation

    Reply
  11. Shirley Andrews November 21, 2018

    Good

    Reply
  12. JoAnn Connor November 21, 2018

    Good!

    Reply
  13. Guillermo Rocha November 21, 2018

    It only makes sense

    Reply
  14. Bertha Gallego November 21, 2018

    Kudos for these students. The Republicans are a bunch of cheaters and sore losers!

    Reply
  15. Joseph Garcia November 21, 2018

    They can sue all they want ! They’re going to find out u don’t have the right to defraud the voter laws ! Illegal votes do not count , dead ppl do not count , voters from outside the State do not count , double voting doesn’t count ! So go ahead and sue . Good luck ! They count and count until they get the right number , that’s the Democrats for u .

    Reply
  16. Pat Harrison November 21, 2018

    Excellent

    Reply
  17. Susan Hood November 21, 2018

    Oh please. How flipping stupid are they?

    Reply
  18. Charles Freedom November 21, 2018

    Alabama is well known for suppressing minorities and they are one of the most racist red states out there that still lives in the past.

    Reply
  19. Shirley Hawkins November 21, 2018

    Republican cheats

    Reply
  20. Edwin Gallegos November 21, 2018

    Get the Fuck outta here sore loser propaganda for the masses.

    Reply
  21. Larry L. Cunningham November 22, 2018

    American idea of democracy….only people like me should be allowed to vote!

    Reply
  22. Susan Sellers Brillhart November 22, 2018

    Democrats rig elections

    Reply
    1. Lola Madison November 22, 2018

      Susan Sellers Brillhart …….says the racist republikkkan

  23. Beverly Lee November 22, 2018

    Good!!!!

    Reply
  24. Arthur Rogers November 22, 2018

    With what ? There tuition money or did they start a go fund me page.

    Reply
  25. Linda Krider November 22, 2018

    Go after them

    Reply

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