The Voter Registration digital collection is an ongoing project, and additional items will be added as they are digitized.
Ratified in 1870, the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution guaranteed that the right to vote could not be denied because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Multiple Southern U.S. states found ways around this amendment by creating their own amendments with new requirements for voters, including literacy tests, poll taxes, and other requirements. This excluded African American men, but it also excluded some white male voters. To solve the disenfranchisement of white males, North Carolina enacted the “grandfather clause.” This stated any man could not be denied the right to vote based on literacy if he had an ancestor who could vote under the law of his state residence on January 1, 1867, and he registered before December 1, 1908. Since 1867 predated the 15th Amendment banning racial discrimination, this meant that most African American men would still be unable to vote. This clause expired in 1908. The “grandfather clause,” or Permanent Registration of Voters, are the voter registries from 1902 to 1908, organized by North Carolina county. The information includes the voter registrants' name and age, their qualifying ancestor and their home state, and the date of registration.