The NAACP held marches across North Carolina Sunday to voice opposition to a potential voter ID law. The organization also commemorated the 48th anniversary of civil rights marches in Alabama.
More than 50 people with dark coats and colorful umbrellas gathered outside Mount Moriah Primitive Baptist Church in Uptown.
Charlotte NAACP President Kojo Nantambu got everyone’s attention with a loud whistle.
“All right, we’re getting ready to go,” he said, and then thanked everyone for coming as they started walking.
The marchers represented a variety of races and religions. They walked quietly to the federal courthouse, where Nantambu broke the silence.
“We are here today to say that we are not going to accept anything other than total freedom of expression and the right to vote,” he said. “What they’re doing in the General Assembly is wrong.”
Republicans in control of the General Assembly are in the early stages of crafting legislation that would require people to show a photo ID before voting.
About 600,000 voters in North Carolina don’t have a photo ID, according to the state board of elections. That’s almost 10 percent of registered voters.
Charlotte resident Ted Shapack said they’re part of the reason he joined the march.
“The voter ID issue is an effort to dilute the vote and to scare away older people, poorer people, and persons of color,” he said. “It’s quite a technique, and I can’t believe we’re here - I can’t believe in 2013 (this is happening).”
Supporters of voter ID strongly dispute those claims. House Speaker Thom Tillis, for example, said it’s about preventing fraud and restoring confidence in elections.
Some Democratic legislators have proposed their own bill to address the issue. It would allow people without IDs to have their pictures taken at polling places and then vote.
But Nantambu said he’s against any sort of compromise.
“If you compromise, then you are validating what they’re saying,” he said. “There is no need for voter ID.”
The NAACP also held marches in Raleigh, Greensboro, Asheboro, Fayetteville and Greenville.