The News & Observer has published an op-ed from LWVNC President Jennifer McMillan Rubin rounding up North Carolina's election law changes and the hurdles they will bring.
- Voter ID is coming to North Carolina. The first election in which voters will have to show ID is the 2023 municipal elections, which begin in September. But most voters are unaware of many of the details of Voter ID. They may need help getting an acceptable ID and they do not know how to get their ballot accepted if they don’t have an acceptable ID.
- Same-day registration and early voting are critical to the way voters access the polls. New legislation will put restrictions on same-day registration that may result in legitimate ballots being designated as “provisional” and risk being rejected before final votes are certified.
- Voting absentee will not only require a two-witness/notary requirement, but voters will need to attach a photocopy of their ID. Not only is this a cumbersome additional step, but it is not clear how these copies — which include dates of birth and other identifying information — will be kept private. This opens absentee voters up to potential identity theft.
- Eliminating three-day grace period for receiving absentee ballots, as SB 747 would, will invalidate many absentee ballots.
- Proposed legislation also gives a green light to individuals and groups to challenge any voter’s absentee ballot and question that person’s right to vote. It also allows anyone who wants to observe absentee ballot counts to do so. This is all an affront to voter privacy.
- In Senate Bill 749, legislators plan to restructure how North Carolina’s State Board of Elections members are appointed, setting up a partisan split with the tie-breaking vote given to the legislature. This is clearly a process designed to circumvent normal checks and balances.
- House Bill 772 loosens regulations for polling place observers, adding another element of management and training to local boards of elections, whose funding is being cut. Further, voters will have difficulty distinguishing between authorized election officials and partisan political workers.
The proposed voter legislation has so far evaded a process of extensive public input. And while most people don’t think much about voting until elections are upon them, confusion, intimidation, long lines and more, will occur if these bills become law. We must speak out against these proposals, which will make it much harder for people to vote and damage our democracy. Changing election laws based on groundless claims of fraud can discourage people from voting and will sow distrust between the governed and their government. The citizens of North Carolina deserve better.
This article is related to which committees:VOTE411 and Voter Services
League to which this content belongs:North Carolina