Issues that matter to new voters in North Carolina
Most people think of voter registration as something everyone supports. After all, voting is the ultimate gesture of democratic citizenship. And if you want to vote, you first have to register.
But lately it’s become politically contested. In several southern states, Republicans have imposed rules meant to make registration more difficult. A Georgia group working to register African-Americans was recently the target of a politically motivated investigation by state election officials. In North Carolina, which hosts a tight Senate race this fall, even a conservative group, Turning Point USA, was recently blocked from registering voters on campus, in an episode that was captured on video.
In that context, registering to vote isn’t just a step toward participating. It’s a political act in itself. Photographer Mike Belleme spent time with organizers from Turning Point USA and the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP to capture the reactions of newly-registered Tarheel State voters, and discuss the issues that matter to them.
Mike Belleme is an editorial, documentary and portrait photographer based in Asheville, N.C.