Democracy NC

Democracy NC
1821 Green Street
Durham, NC 27705

Democracy North Carolina began as Democracy South in 1991 as a project of the liberal political group – Institute for Southern Studies, an organization that prides itself as an advocate for progressive change. The Institute for Southern Studies is the parent organization behind Carolina Public Press and Facing South, a progressive publication with a history of attacking conservatives.

They are a founding member of Blueprint North Carolina, an organization that gained infamy with their strategy memo that directed their members to "eviscerate, mitigate, litigate, cogitate and agitate" the state's leadership in 2013. Under their former leader, Bob Hall, they organized many of the attacks on North Carolina's election law via litigation or lobbying the North Carolina State Board of Elections. Bob Hall has been an influential figure in North Carolina's election process for years, and he will be covered separately in another article.

Election law Influence

Democracy NC has been a part of many of North Carolina's election lawsuits either by submitting amicus briefs supporting progressive candidates and groups or by direct involvement in these lawsuits. They have also been a significant organization in the fight to change election law to allow for same-day registration for voting and prevent the enforcement of Voter ID laws. They are were responsible for preventing individuals from inquiring on voter fraud cases by attacking and suing individuals for contesting ballots in the 2016 election.

Preventing the implementation of Voter ID has been one of Democracy NC's main objectives since Republicans took control of the General Assembly in 2010. They joined with the ACLU to sue the State Board of Elections in 2015, accusing them of violating the National Voter Registration Act – known as "motor voter law." The State Board of Elections immediately provided data and charts to demonstrate that the lawsuit was most likely frivolous. Following the 2018 passage of North Carolina's Voter ID laws, they filed injunctions to the NAACP lawsuit to prevent implementing the law in the 2020 primary election.

During the 2020 election, Democracy NC looked to implement extreme changes to the States election laws by suing the State Board of Elections. Using the Covid Pandemic as the reasoning for the suit, Democracy NC attempted the following election law changes:
• Alter the 25-day voter registration deadline.
• Overturn the law requiring absentee ballots to be requested on a form created by the State Board of Elections.
• Expand the types of documents that can be used as proof of residency for absentee ballot requests.
• Allow political operatives to fill out and submit absentee ballot requests for voters.
• Eliminate the witness requirement for absentee ballots.
• Eliminate the residency requirement for all precinct poll workers.
• Overturn North Carolina's ban on ballot harvesting.
• Allow county boards to advantage some voters by setting different voting hours for early "one-stop" voting sites.
• Require county boards of elections to notify voters whose ballots were rejected.


While Democracy NC has not been the primary organization suing over redistricting maps, they have been a consistent backer. They have filed amicus briefs regarding various redistricting suits, siding with other progressive groups, against North Carolina's congressional and state legislative maps. According to the Brennen Center, they have filed amicus briefs in:
• Rucho v. Common Cause: Filed alongside the Peoples Alliance Fund, Democracy NC sided with Common Cause regarding the 2016 congressional gerrymandering case.
• NC NAACP v. Moore: Democracy NC sided with the North Carolina NAACP, saying that voter ID laws and the 2018 redistricting maps negatively impacted the influence of minority voices.
• Covington v. North Carolina: Democracy NC filed this alongside the League of Woman Voters and the NC NAACP regarding a complaint that the general assembly had not provided enough public input regarding the redrawing process for the maps