The NCNAACP is applauding two recent major federal court decisions that it says “protects the lives….” and voting rights of African-Americans across North Carolina.

Last week, a federal District Court judge issued an order, instructing officials in Beaufort, Moore and Cumberland counties to stop purging primarily Black voters from official registration lists of eligible voters “…in elections for federal office….when those challenges are based on change of residency, and the State has neither received written confirmation from the voter of a change of residency outside of the county, nor complied with the NVRA’s (National Voter Registration Act) prior notice requirement and two-election cycle waiting period.

According to the US Dept. of Justice, “Congress enacted the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (also known as the “NVRA” and the “Motor Voter Act”), to enhance voting opportunities for every American. The Act has made it easier for all Americans to register to vote and to maintain their registration.”

Thus, those counties cited in the court order were sued for violating the NVRA by purging Black voters off their respective eligible voter registration lists without properly  following NVRA guidelines.

The Federal Court order also restricted election officials in those counties from “…using the challenge procedure set forth in [State law] to remove voters from the rolls without individualized inquiry as to the circumstances of each voter in the 90 days preceding a federal election in the absence of a request of the registrant, necessity under State law by reason of criminal conviction or mental incapacity, or the death of the registrant; and holding hearings or taking any other action(s) to process challenges filed under those provisions in the circumstances identified above. “

Finally, the court ordered that Kim Strach, Executive Director of the Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement “…shall take all reasonable and necessary steps to ensure statewide compliance with the NVRA, consistent with this [court order].”

According to Attorney Irving Joyner, Chairman, NCNAACP Legal Redress Committee, “This order now covers every county in the State, another great victory for African Americans and racial minority voters.

Another “great victory” for the NCNAACP and its legal coalition came this week, when Federal District Court Judge Loretta Biggs denied a motion by Duke Energy to dismiss some of the claims in the Clean Water Act citizen suit against the utility giant’s coal ash pollution at Belews Creek.

“The judge rejected Duke Energy’s arguments, mostly rehashed versions of its unsuccessful arguments in other coal ash cases, that DEQ was diligently prosecuting some of the same violations in its state enforcement actions, that Duke Energy’s permit “shielded” it from citizen enforcement of the Clean Water Act and that [plaintiffs] did not spell out facts in [their] complaint that would show Duke Energy violated its permit,” said Attorney Joyner in a statement.

Joyner continued, “This litigation is very important to the NCNAACP because the coal ash dumping by Duke Energy has resulted in the deaths and longterm cancer conditions for hundreds of African Americans who live in and around Walnut Cove, NC. Duke Energy has not evidenced any concerns for the lives of people who live in the Walnut Cove (Stokes County) communities by taking reasonable and appropriate steps to clean up the environmental mess that the Company’s operations have caused.

“The NCNAACP is elated with Judge Biggs’ legal determination that Duke Energy can be held to account for its environmental misdeeds,” Attorney Joyner concluded.