Press release

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Eases Access to Voting for Nearly 1.3 Million Medicaid Recipients

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has begun mailing voter registration forms to nearly 1.3 million Medicaid recipients who have had their benefits automatically renewed within the past year.

Durham, N.C.The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has begun mailing voter registration forms to nearly 1.3 million Medicaid recipients who have had their benefits automatically renewed within the past year. Additionally, moving forward, voter registration forms will be mailed out with the correspondence DHHS already sends to Medicaid recipients whose benefits have been automatically renewed.

This action was taken after Democracy North Carolina and Action NC, represented by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, the ACLU, Dēmos, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the ACLU of North Carolina sent a letter to the state on June 22, 2020 informing it that federal law requires that voter registration be provided during automatic Medicaid renewals.

“In a moment when our country remains in the throes of a pandemic, DHHS' actions become all the more important to protect North Carolinians with disabilities or those requiring long-term care,” said Tomas Lopez, Executive Director at Democracy North Carolina. “Because these individuals are also at high-risk if they contract COVID-19 and are more likely to be confined and have reduced opportunities to register and vote, the DHHS mailing should be viewed as supporting the larger COVID relief work in the state and essential in ensuring that all eligible North Carolina voters have the opportunity to participate in upcoming elections.”

“DHHS’ mailing will help protect the most basic promise of our democracy: A process where the voices of all can be heard,” said Pat McCoy, Executive Director of Action NC. “Medicaid provides medical coverage to low-income individuals in North Carolina, who often have less housing security, requiring them to move and update their registration more frequently. Providing these individuals and other Medicaid recipients with the opportunity to register to vote and update their voter information is critical in ensuring people are not denied the opportunity to cast a ballot in November.”

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The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, founded in 2007, partners with communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities in the South to defend and advance their political, social, and economic rights through the combination of legal advocacy, research, organizing and communications. Learn more at southerncoalition.org and follow our work on Twitter and Facebook.

Democracy North Carolina is a statewide nonpartisan organization that uses research, organizing, and advocacy to increase civic participation, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and remove systemic barriers to voting and serving in elected office. Learn more at democracync.org.

About the ACLU of North Carolina – Since 1965, the ACLU of North Carolina has been our state’s guardian of liberty – working in courts, the General Assembly, and communities to protect and advance civil rights and civil liberties for all North Carolinians. A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with more than 30,000 members and supporters across the state, the ACLU of North Carolina is a state affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union. For more information, including event details, please visit acluofnc.org.

Demos is a dynamic think-and-do tank that powers the movement for a just, inclusive, multiracial democracy. Through cutting-edge policy research, inspiring litigation, and deep relationships with grassroots organizations, Demos champions solutions that will create a democracy and economy rooted in racial equity. To learn more, visit www.demos.org.

Action NC promotes racial, gender and economic equity through grassroots education, organizing, and mobilization, and increased voter participation. To learn more, visit www.actionnc.org/.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law’s principal mission is to secure equal justice for all through the rule of law, targeting in particular the inequities confronting African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities. The Lawyers’ Committee is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar’s leadership and resources in combating racial discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity – work that continues to be vital today. To learn more, please visit www.lawyerscommittee.org/.