Madison Kimrey is just 12 years old, but she knows voter suppression when she sees it. While it will be another 6 years before Kimrey is eligible to vote, she is already fighting with a fire that would put many political activists to shame against the blatant voter suppression in North Carolina, her home state.
Kimrey started NC Youth Rocks in response to North Carolina’s shameful voting law, which passed earlier this year. She spoke at Alamance County’s first Moral Monday, a recurring rally organized to fight for progressive causes like expanding Medicaid, increasing education funding, and fighting voter suppression:
“The reason I’m here today is that we young people have a serious leadership problem here in North Carolina,” Kimrey begins, drawing cheers from the crowd. She goes on to hammer at the Republican-controlled North Carolina legislature for eliminating a program that allowed 16 and 17 year-olds to pre-register to vote, so that they would be officially registered the moment they turned 18.
“Before Governor Pat McCrory signed the legislation, he was asked about the elimination of pre-registration,” Kimrey continues. “His answer was, he hadn’t read that part of the bill.”
North Carolina’s voting law disproportionately affects young people and minorities, which were the main coalitions that led to a Democratic sweep in North Carolina in 2008. Instead of trying to come up with policies that actually appeal to these groups, Republicans are simply trying to make it harder for them to vote. What they might not have counted on is the fire it would ignite in young activists like Kimrey. Check out her organization NC Youth Rock’s Facebook page (whatever state you’re from) to see some of the energy that might one day turn NC blue.