North Carolina purged a 100-year-old black woman from the voter rolls

Who would have seen that coming?

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published October 28, 2016 12:55PM (EDT)

 (Screengrab via WCHT)
(Screengrab via WCHT)

A 100-year-old African American woman was nearly denied her right to vote in North Carolina.

According to her nephew, Grace Bell Hardison "loves to vote. She will not miss election time." But weeks before early voting started in North Carolina, she was informed that her voter-registration status was being challenged, according to a report from The Nation Thursday. If she didn't provide a notarized form or appear at a Board of Elections meeting, she would be purged from the rolls.

Although Hardison stirred up enough of a local outcry that the challenge against her was withdrawn, most other voters aren't so lucky.

“Of the 138 [voters] challenged, 92 of them were black and registered Democrats. 28 voters were unaffiliated, 17 were Republicans, and 1 was Libertarian,” reported WNCT-TV.

Hardison's experience is part of a larger national Republican Party effort to prevent minorities from voting. On Friday, U. S. District Judge Mark Walker demanded that Florida state election officials explain why 25,000 people who had sent out voter registration applications hadn't been registered yet.

The Republican Party's efforts to rig elections by disenfranchising minority voters has a long and ugly history in this country. Back in the 1980s, efforts at voter intimidation in predominantly minority areas of the country were so widespread that a consent decree had to be issued to put a stop to it. Over the last few years, Voter ID laws have been passed to make it more difficult for non-whites and the poor (who also tend to support Democrats) to vote.

Donald Trump took this to a new art by encouraging his supporters to act as unofficial poll watchers.


By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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