Votes Not Counted: Jessica's Story

Each post in SCSJ’s “Votes Not Counted” series tells the story of a person qualified to vote before the passage of North Carolina’s Monster Voter Suppression Law, whose ballot was unjustly denied this year. Below is Jessica’s story. If you know another eligible voter whose vote has been denied, please email
Jessica J. is a lifelong Gaston County, North Carolina resident who was disenfranchised in November’s election due to the voter suppression law’s (H.B. 589) elimination of same-day registration.  Despite Jessica’s consistent voting history, she was denied the right to vote because of an administrative error that could not be corrected without same-day registration.
Jessica first registered to vote the day she turned 18 years old at the North Carolina DMV.  She first voted in the 2008 presidential election by absentee ballot while she attended college.  Jessica then voted in the 2012 presidential election during the early voting period in Mt. Holly.  Between 2012 and 2014, Jessica did not move, did not change her name, and did not change or update her voter registration.  Despite voting consistently in North Carolina elections, Jessica would soon discover that her voter registration vanished without a trace.
On November 1, 2014, Jessica again went to the Mt. Holly early voting location.  She expected her voting trip to be quick and painless, like it was in 2012; she even wore her gym clothes because she was going to exercise immediately afterwards.  However, her experience turned into an hour-long disenfranchising nightmare.
When Jessica checked in to vote on November 1st, polling officials could not locate any registration information for her.  Jessica spoke with three different election officials and even got on the phone with the Gaston County Board of Elections Director, all of whom said Jessica could not be found in the system and therefore her vote would not count.  Jessica felt flustered and disenfranchised; she simply had no idea how something like this could happen.
Ultimately, Jessica cast a provisional ballot and was re-registered for elections in the future.  However, her provisional ballot was not counted because her registration information was never located.  If same-day registration was still in existence, Jessica could have corrected her registration problem on November 1st and would have had her ballot counted.  Jessica, who works in disability services, feels it is very important to participate in the political process to advocate for those in need.  Jessica cannot believe this happened to her as the elections process worked for her twice before. She views her voting experience as both harassing and embarrassing.  Jessica deserves to have her vote counted and wanted to share her story to show how the voter suppression law impacts real individuals in North Carolina.
If you know an eligible voter whose vote has been unfairly denied, please ask them to tell their story! Contact for more information.