Votes Not Counted: Marianne's Story

Marianne Weant is a married mother of three, including newborn twins. She also works in the non-profit industry. She and her family recently moved from Mecklenburg County to Cary, in order to be closer to her parents. Marianne has a lot of demands on her time and attention, but she makes time for voting. But this November’s election, she may be denied the right to vote because of the law passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2013 allegedly to “combat voter fraud.” That new law (H.B. 589) ended same day registration—the ability of voters to register (or to change their registration from county-to-county) during early voting.
Marianne grew up in Virginia, the daughter of two teachers. When her parents moved to North Carolina for work, she eventually followed. She received a master’s degree from UNC Charlotte. Since she has lived in North Carolina, Marianne has been working in the public interest sector, and she has used her skills to make sure that schools across the state get the health support they need. After finding out that they were expecting twins, she and her husband decided to move to Cary to be closer to her parents.
In July of 2014, Marianne changed her driver’s license to her new Cary address. She thought that would also take care of her voter registration. Then in September, she got a mailing from the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections, asking if she moved. She returned the mailing, including her new Cary address, and again thought that would ensure her proper registration.
At the end of October, during the early voting period, Marianne received a mailing from the Wake County Board of Elections indicating that it appeared to them that she had moved from the area. That mailing notified her that she’d been removed from the Mecklenburg County rolls, and she should check online to see if she had been added to the Wake County rolls. To her surprise and dismay, she was not registered in Wake County. And it was too late to register anew.
Voting is important to Marianne. She took her toddler to vote in the last election in which she voted. She wants her children to know that participation is critical to democracy. This didn’t need to happen—if the North Carolina General Assembly had not repealed same day registration, Marianne would have been able to correct this bureaucratic snafu. The monster election bill passed by the General Assembly in 2013 is disenfranchising hard working mothers like Marianne. Marianne is sharing her story to fight back against bad voting laws.
Votes Not Counted is an ongoing series by SCSJ exploring the wide swath of North Carolina’s population that has been negatively affected by new voting restrictions.