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NAACP disputes Tillis's 'invitation' to talk Voter ID

Posted June 13, 2012
Updated June 14, 2012

Questioned today about a meeting between House Speaker Thom Tillis and conservative activists over Voter ID, a Tillis staffer said the NAACP had cancelled its chance to offer a balancing view on the proposal.

State NAACP President William Barber is calling that a mischaracterization.

Shortly after WRAL published this post about Tillis's meeting today with immigration activists, one of the Speaker's staffers said via the office's Twitter account that "Barber & NAACP cancelled 1:45p meeting w/ Speaker and PPT [President Pro Tem Phil Berger] to discuss Ed. & Voter ID issues today."

Barber says that's not what happened. 

"For the Speaker or the Speaker’s office to publicly suggest to the media that we cancelled a scheduled meeting without giving the full details is both a distortion and a disappointment," Barber said in a statement.

Barber said his group began trying to arrange a meeting with GOP leaders in early May, two weeks prior to the group's lobby day at the legislature. He said Tillis finally agreed to a May 23rd meeting with restrictions including an approved guest list and a media blackout. Barber said his coalition rejected those terms, but "did not find out until the day of our legislative day that [Tillis] would not honor the original commitment."

Since then, Barber said, he's continued to try to set up a meeting between civil rights groups and GOP leaders about issues including "the budget, public education, Racial Justice Act, Voter ID, etc." 

"It was never just about Voter ID," he added. 

Last week, Barber said, Tillis's staff offered 15 minutes today, but with no guarantee Senate Leader Phil Berger would also attend. And the earlier restrictions would again be in effect. 

"We informed them last week that today would not be a good day," Barber explained. "And we informed them again that their restrictions such as a limit on who could come and the banning of any media was unacceptable. The General Assembly is the People’s House, not a private institution."

"For Mr. Tillis to suggest that we would break off a meeting regarding Voter ID or any other issue is disingenuous considering the many, many attempts we’ve made to meet, [and] his own public comments last year that he would not meet with the NAACP," said Barber.  

"We are still willing to meet with the majority leadership as long as we can bring representative members of our coalition, and they do not try to set arbitrary limitations suggesting we should meet under the cover of darkness in the People’s House," he concluded. 

6 Comments

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  • driverkid3 Jun 17, 7:08 p.m.

    What happened to make Republicans hate democracy and American values so much? Why this attack on people's right to vote?

    Peopole will always have the right to vote, but with "rights" come responsibilities; one being the responsibility of having ID. As far as Republicans go, we don't hate anything like you claim. The dims have made such a God awful mess of things that getting them straightened out is gonna take time and some pain.

  • greg69innc Jun 17, 10:26 a.m.

    Rev. Barber has made so many detrimental actions from being arrested for disturbing the legislatures to trespassing in school board meetings that I believe it tires our leaders in hosting him. Nor with his unprofessional behavior do they want to be on camera with him as who knows who he will act, converse, and display himself to the media.

  • jackjones2nc Jun 15, 12:42 p.m.

    What happened to make Republicans hate democracy and American values so much? Why this attack on people's right to vote?

  • jcd241959 Jun 15, 8:26 a.m.

    The dems are the ones wanting to hide. They are the ones who want illegals and dead folks voting!

  • eoglane Jun 14, 4:37 p.m.

    Id or you don't vote period. Democrats couldn't win without that. Need all the crooks to help get them in

  • dwntwnboy Jun 14, 3:46 p.m.

    Why are the Repubs scared of the press? They got something to hide?