North Carolina required people with previous felony convictions to pay legal financial obligations before they could vote – a practice that disenfranchised thousands of people, predominately people of color. The law was challenged by North Carolinians with prior felony convictions and advocacy groups as a violation of
The SPLC and its allies filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs, highlighting how racial discrimination and disparities in North Carolina’s criminal legal system – as well as economic opportunities – create disproportionate disenfranchisement of Black citizens of the state. It describes how out of the more than 56,000 people barred from voting due to the law, 42% are Black despite Black people representing only 22% of the state’s population. In September 2020, the Wake County Superior Court ruled that North Carolina’s felony disenfranchisement law violates the state constitution by conditioning the right to vote on a person’s ability to pay fines, fees and other debts. The court granted relief that allowed some voters to begin to register to vote.