Each week this summer we will highlight an item from our North Carolina Digital Collections in hopes of inspiring you to discover new-to-you materials. For the month of July our theme is elections.
Unless you have been hiding in the archives stacks for the past twelve months, you might be aware that 2016 is a presidential election year, and during the month of July, both the Democrat and Republican parties will hold national conventions to nominate their candidates for president. In keeping with the spirit of these historic events, our featured treasure this week is the information booklet “Know Your Voting Rights,” that was published by the North Carolina Voter Education Project (N.C. VEP) in the late 1960s.
N.C. VEP was incorporated in April 1967 as a non-profit, non-partisan umbrella group designed to consolidate and coordinate the efforts of existing voter registration and education organizations in North Carolina. “Know Your Voting Rights” was one of many publications written and distributed by N.C. VEP to inform the “poor and disadvantaged” about the political process and their rights as citizens of North Carolina. Here is the introduction from page one of the booklet:
“You must do more than just register and vote. You should find out who is the best person running for each office. You should also learn how to use your voting power correctly and what rights you have as a voter.
“This book tells you some important things about how to use your voting power correctly. This book also tells you about your voting rights. It shows you want you can do and what you cannot do on election day.”
This booklet and other material from the North Carolina Voter Education Project can be viewed online as part of the Civil Rights digital collection at NCDC. If your summer plans bring you to Raleigh, we also encourage you to visit us at the State Archives to view the N.C. VEP records in person.
For additional information on the history of voting in North Carolina, check out these NCpedia articles on Election Law, Disfranchisement, the Grandfather Clause, Women’s Suffrage, the N.C. Democratic Party, and the N.C. Republican Party.