RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA– Un-PAC organizers, representing thousands of young people and students across North Carolina, met with Senator Richard Burr’s office this week to discuss their support for the For the People Act (H.R.1/ S.1), a comprehensive democracy reform bill that addresses voting rights, campaign finance, and Congressional ethics.
“I’ve seen the adverse impact of voter suppression laws,” said Damarius Dennings, Un-PAC organizer and junior at North Carolina A&T University, “My campus was gerrymandered in half in 2011, dividing the power students had in our votes. Passing the For the People Act is the only way we can prevent assaults on youth voting power like that from happening again.”
The students, representing a coalition of North Carolina Historically Black universities and colleges, presented Senator Burr’s office with hundreds of pledge signatures from young North Carolinians across the political spectrum stating that their support for Senator Burr is contingent on his passage of the For The People Act. The organizers also delivered dozens of letters of support from various student and public organizations, advocating for the passage of S.1.
“I grew up in a small town called Prospect Hill in Caswell County North Carolina” said Chris Deluca, student and meeting attendee. “It’s one of the most conservative districts in the state, yet I know that the For the People Act would go miles in helping fix the discrepancies in voting resources between my community and urban areas. That’s one of the many reasons why the For the People Act has support from the majority of Democratic and Republican voters.”
When asked if Senator Burr would commit to passing S.1, his staffer noted that, “Senator Burr has outstanding concerns. It’s too top heavy, states should have a role in [crafting] their own election laws. I know some of the campaign finance provisions [caused] concerns from the ACLU.” In fact, the Election Clause of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to regulate federal elections; all of the reforms proposed in S.1 pertain to federal elections and therefore do not interfere with states’ rights from a constitutional standpoint. The Democracy 21 Education Fund released a response to the ACLU’s concerns, stating “ H.R. 1 has an explicit safe harbor provision that exempts from disclosure any donor who may be subject to “serious threats, harassment or reprisals.”
“What legacy is Senator Burr going to leave behind for young people across North Carolina, if he can’t stand up for young people and ensure our votes are protected and matter?” asked Un-PAC organizer and NCCU graduate, Morgan Kesler.
Un-PAC is a statewide organization activating students and young people to demand long overdue structural democracy reform so that we can actually solve urgent problems. Additional information can be found at www.un-pac.org, or on Twitter at @LetsUnPAC.