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What is actually in the so-called “voter suppression” bills

There has been a lot of (often heated) discussion around three election-related bills that are advancing. If we are going to talk about these bills, it behooves us to know what is actually in them. Here we go.

S326: Election Day Integrity Act.

  • Section 1 moves the deadline for county boards of elections to receive absentee ballots from three days after election day to election day. I have written on some of the problems with depending on postmarking ballots and have testified on those problems to the General Assembly.
  • Section 2 requires the North Carolina State Board of Elections (SBE) and county boards of elections to post on their webpages and on any materials sent to voters “the date by which absentee ballots are available for voting.”
  • Section 3 promotes transparency by requiring county boards of elections and the SBE to more consistently report on early one-stop and absentee voting. (Inconsistent reporting by the county boards has been the real problem causing missing data.)

S724: Expand Access to Voter ID & Voting.

  • Section 1 increases voting access to the visually impaired through the creation of a “visually impaired portal.”
  • Section 2 expands online voter registration by authorizing the SBE to create a means for citizens to submit an online voter registration form on the SBE website. Currently, citizens can only register to vote online through the Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • Section 3 establishes the General Assembly’s intent to fund a program to help citizens get free photo IDs that they can use for voting. The actual funding will come from the General Assembly’s budget.

S725: Prohibit Private Money in Elections Admin.

  • The bill would deny the SBE and county election boards the authority to “accept private monetary donations, directly or indirectly, for conducting elections or employing individuals on a temporary basis.” I testified to the General Assembly about problems with the privatization of election administration funding.

That’s it. That is all that is in the bills.

Andy Jackson / Director of the Civitas Center for Public Integrity | John Locke Foundation