HBCU Students Are Suing The State Of Alabama For Voter Suppression
November 16, 2018 at 5:04 pm
Four college students in Alabama registered to vote before the state deadline. Nonetheless, Jordan Jackson, Kendra Jones, Terry Matthews III and Simeon Sykes of Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (AAMU) were asked to cast provisional ballots, which stated they were not certified and would not count toward the election, Citizen Truth reports.
Now, they’re suing Alabama for voter suppression.
AAMU is a historically Black university, which the students believe made their school’s polling location a target. According to the lawsuit, 70.5 percent of Black registered voters in their county are between 18 and 21 years old, which is regarded as college age. Furthermore, Jackson, Jones, Matthews and Sykes’ names were confirmed as registered voters on Alabama’s website, but polling officials told them they were not. More over, 175 others were given provisional ballots, and when officials ran out -- which happened multiple times throughout the day -- lines exceeded an hour-long wait time.
“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,” the complaint stated. “These included unjustifiable rejections or delayed processing of student’s voter registration applications and students being placed on inactive status for improper reasons.”
Now, the students assert their 14th, 15th and 26th Amendment rights were violated, as well as those protected under the National Voter Registration Act of 1933 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The lawsuit is aimed at Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, the Madison County Board of Registrars and its chair, Lynda Hairston.
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is representing the students in court. The organization’s senior counsel, Catherine Meza, released a statement regarding the events, saying, “Nothing is more fundamental than the right to vote, and these students, despite complying with all of Alabama’s regulations, were denied that right.”
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