North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Eases Access to Voting for Nearly 1.3 Million Medicaid Recipients
Durham, N.C. — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has begun mailing voter registration forms to nearly 1.3 million Medicaid recipients who have had their benefits automatically renewed within the past year. Additionally, moving forward, voter registration forms will be mailed out with the correspondence DHHS already sends to Medicaid recipients whose benefits have been automatically renewed.
This action was taken after Democracy North Carolina and Action NC, represented by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, the ACLU, Dēmos, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the ACLU of North Carolina sent a letter to the state on June 22, 2020 informing it that federal law requires that voter registration be provided during automatic Medicaid renewals.
“In a moment when our country remains in the throes of a pandemic, DHHS’ actions become all the more important to protect North Carolinians with disabilities or those requiring long-term care,” said Tomas Lopez, Executive Director at Democracy North Carolina. “Because these individuals are also at high-risk if they contract COVID-19 and are more likely to be confined and have reduced opportunities to register and vote, the DHHS mailing should be viewed as supporting the larger COVID relief work in the state and essential in ensuring that all eligible North Carolina voters have the opportunity to participate in upcoming elections.”
“DHHS’ mailing will help protect the most basic promise of our democracy: A process where the voices of all can be heard,” said Pat McCoy, Executive Director of Action NC. “Medicaid provides medical coverage to low-income individuals in North Carolina, who often have less housing security, requiring them to move and update their registration more frequently. Providing these individuals and other Medicaid recipients with the opportunity to register to vote and update their voter information is critical in ensuring people are not denied the opportunity to cast a ballot in November.”