Before the new voting law went into effect, 16- and 17-year-olds in North Carolina could pre-register to vote, and would be automatically added to the rolls when they turned 18.
The new law also requires voters to show photo identification, shortens early voting from 17 days to ten, eliminates same-day voter registration during early voting, and restricts counting on some provisional ballots. Last month the federal Justice Department filed suit to block parts of the law. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has defended the changes.
Gov. McCrory also dismissed Madison Kimrey's request to meet with him on the issue, saying that she is a "prop for liberal groups."
Madison, who has accumulated more than 12,000 signatures on a petition to speak with the governor on the issue, responded with this:
"I am not a prop. I am part of the new generation of suffragettes and I will not stand silent while laws are passed to reduce the amount of voter turnout in my home state."
Madison has also formed an organization called North Carolina Youth Rock, to help young people in her state (and any adults who might be interested in helping) organize to be more involved in the political process.
Have I mentioned that she's 12?
More awesomeness: For the UN's International Day of the Girl, Madison uploaded a YouTube video encouraging world leaders to listen to the voice of young people, and encouraging girls to support one another. Even more awesomeness: her YouTube user name is Darth Madison.
Madison also writes a blog, Functional Human Being. If you still think she's a prop, go check it out. Besides writing about politics, she also writes about rape culture, discrimination, and standing up to critics:
"For anyone out there who wants to attack me for what I believe in, come at me bro. I've seen your kind before and I'm not afraid of you. Know that when you come at this girl, I won't be mad at you for attacking me because I'm 12 years old. I'll just refute your crap the same way the rest of the functional, freethinking world does. "
I'll be sharing this video with my daughters and with my Girl Scout troop. No matter what your political beliefs are, you have to respect someone who does more than just complain about the status quo: she takes action. I'm sure her parents support and encourage her to speak her mind, but Madison is clearly self-motivated. This kind of brilliant fire only comes from within.
Gov. McCrory's dismissal of Madison as a prop is disappointing, to say the least. As someone who has kids and volunteers with kids, I know first-hand that kids absolutely can have passionate voices on supposedly "grown-up" topics. Almost Facebook. Check her out:
- By Joslyn Gray