call of duty

Votes Not Counted: Dale’s Story

Dale Hicks is a 38-year-old veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Dale was forced to sit on the sidelines this election because of the law passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2013 to combat alleged voter fraud. That new law (H.B. 589) ended same day registration—the ability of voters to register (or to change their registration from county-to-county) during early voting.

Dale grew up in New York and lived in Queens his whole life until he joined the military. He enlisted in the Marines in 2008, and served 5 years before being honorably discharged last year. During his time in the Marines, he did a thirteen-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. He was stationed at Camp Lejeune for most of his military career. He was registered and voted in Onslow County.

Dale is a newlywed—he and his wife just moved to Raleigh this summer. He just started a new job doing working as a network engineer. Between his wedding, his move, and his new job, Dale has been swamped. He thought he could register during early voting, or worst case scenario, go vote in Onslow County. But Dale found out on Friday, October 31, that he could do neither. Intending to go early vote that morning, he searched online for information about updating his registration. He was surprised to learn that he could no longer do that, and called the North Carolina State Board of Elections to find out what his options were. He was told he had none.

Dale is upset that he wasn’t allowed to vote. Dale recognizes that a lot of people died so that he could vote. He has honored the call of duty by serving his country, and he wants to honor the call of duty by voting. Dale knows that democracy needs participation.

This didn’t need to happen—if the North Carolina General Assembly had not repealed same day registration, Dale would have been able to vote in this election. Dale doesn’t think that any eligible voter should be denied the right to vote, especially not those who have risked their lives in service of others. Dale is sharing his story to fight back against bad voting laws.