North Carolina

Articles about voting issues in North Carolina.

North Carolina: Court bars college dorm students from voting in Greenville County, director says | Greenville Online

If a college student who lives on campus at Clemson University wants to register to vote in Pickens County, they can just fill out a voter registration form and list their campus housing as their legal residence. Same with students at the University of South Carolina or the College of Charleston or any number of colleges in South Carolina. But not in Greenville County. If a college student who lives on campus at Furman University or Greenville Technical College or Bob Jones University or North Greenville University wants to register to vote in Greenville County, they’re more than likely out of luck. That’s because those students must complete an 11-question form with answers that satisfy the county’s Board of Voter Registration and Elections. If they don’t return the form within 10 days, the board will reject their registration. If they don’t answer every question correctly with enough information to establish their residence in Greenville, the board will reject their registration. Read More

North Carolina: State Supreme Court political and ideological balance could tilt in 2016 election | News & Observer

As key pieces of the legislative agenda get scrutiny in the courts, partisan organizations and politicians are focusing on the race for the one seat up for grabs on the North Carolina Supreme Court. The state’s highest court has a one-vote conservative majority, and that has been reflected in decisions to uphold redistricting maps found unconstitutional in the federal courts and to allow state funds to be used for private school vouchers. Justice Bob Edmunds, who has been on the state’s highest court for 16 years, is a Republican from Greensboro facing a challenge from Wake County Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan, a Democrat from Raleigh. Early voting begins in North Carolina on Oct. 20 and ends Nov. 5. Election day is Nov. 8. The candidates have been going from the coast to the mountains, speaking to individuals and groups. It was not until May that it became clear Edmunds would face any challengers in his campaign to keep his seat. Read More

North Carolina: Why early voting matters | Facing South

An “overall victory” is what voting rights advocates are calling North Carolina counties’ new early voting plans. They were finalized last week following the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal’s July ruling, which a divided U.S. Supreme Court let stand, striking down the battleground state’s so-called “monster” election law that among other things slashed a week from the 17-day early voting period. In a 12-hour meeting on Sept. 8, the N.C. State Board of Elections resolved contested early voting plans from 33 of the state’s 100 county election boards, all of which are controlled by Republicans. (Under North Carolina law, the governor’s party holds two of every county election boards’ three seats.) Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the state Republican Party, had urged county board members to limit early voting and keep polling sites closed on Sundays — what he called “party line changes.” Read More

North Carolina: Sunday voting, early voting cuts could prompt legal action | News & Observer

Advocates of expanded early voting opportunities are considering legal action after a mixed bag of victories and losses at Thursday’s State Board of Elections meeting. During a 12-hour meeting Thursday to settle disputed early voting schedules in 33 counties, the state board restored Sunday early voting hours in five counties that had offered the option in 2012. It also added early voting hours in six counties where schedules had been cut, mandating more locations in Wake and Mecklenburg counties to prevent long lines. But in party line votes, the board’s Republican majority rejected efforts by Democrats to add Sunday voting in counties that hadn’t previously offered it and extend early voting hours in more counties. Early voting schedules have prompted bitter partisan disputes this year. With tight races expected for president, governor and U.S. Senate in North Carolina, strong turnout could be the key to victory. Read More

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North Carolina: Elections Board Settles Fight Over Voting Guidelines | The New York Times

North Carolina’s state elections board settled a deeply partisan battle over this fall’s election rules on Thursday, largely rejecting a Republican-led effort to write local voting guidelines that would limit Democratic turnout in a political battleground state. The board’s decisions could influence the course of voting in a state where races for governor and United States senator are close, and where the two major presidential candidates are said to be dead even. After meeting for more than 11 hours, the Republican-controlled board imposed new election plans that expanded voting hours or added polling places — or sometimes both — in 33 of the state’s 100 counties. In the vast bulk of the counties, the sole Democratic member on the three-person election board was contesting voting rules that the Republican majority had approved. Read More

North Carolina: GOP leader lobbied counties to offer just one early voting site in ‘confidential’ email | News & Observer

While the N.C. Republican Party’s executive director pushed counties to reduce early voting opportunities, another GOP leader went a step further: Calling on Republican county election officials to offer only one early voting site for the minimum hours allowed by law. In an email with the subject line “CRITICAL and CONFIDENTIAL,” NCGOP 1st Congressional District Chairman Garry Terry told county election board members that they “are expected to act within the law and in the best interest of the party.” Terry argued that any early voting hours and sites beyond the legal minimum would give Democrats an advantage in November. “We will never discourage anyone from voting but none of us have any obligation in any shape, form or fashion to do anything to help the Democrats win this election,” Terry wrote. “Left unchecked, they would have early voting sites at every large gathering place for Democrats.” Read More

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North Carolina: Some election mailers still say voters will need ID at polls | WRAL

Some voters are getting mixed messages about voter ID rules when they receive registration information from their local county board of elections. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the state’s 2013 law that required most voters to show photo identification at the polls. In a subsequent August order, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to put that 4th Circuit order on hold. However, a concerned viewer sent WRAL News pictures of material that was part of a packet sent to a newly registered voter in Alamance County that touted the now defunct ID rules. The packet, postmarked Sept. 2, bears a large box with red type that says, “BEGINNING IN 2016, VOTERS WILL BE ASKED TO SHOW A PHOTO ID WHEN VOTING IN PERSON.” The same card carries instructions for what voters who might not have appropriate IDs should do. In a separate black and white alert box on a different portion of the material, it bears a conflicting message that reads, “ALERT: PHOTO ID NOT REQUIRED TO VOTE.” Read More

North Carolina: Despite Court Ruling, Voting Rights Fight Continues In North Carolina | NPR

In the swing state of North Carolina, a fight for early voting rights that seemed to end with a strongly worded federal court ruling last month, may be just getting started. That fight began in 2013, when the state made cuts to early voting, created a photo ID requirement and eliminated same-day registration, out-of-precinct voting, and pre-registration of high school students. More than half of all voters there use early voting, and African-Americans do so at higher rates than whites. African-Americans also tend to overwhelmingly vote for Democrats. In July of this year, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down major parts of the overhaul. The three-judge panel ruled those changes targeted African-Americans “with almost surgical precision.” Read More

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North Carolina: Early voting reduced in 23 counties; 9 drop Sunday voting after GOP memo | News & Observer

Voters in 23 North Carolina counties will have fewer opportunities to vote early than they did four years ago under schedules approved by Republican-led election boards. The decisions came after the N.C. Republican Party encouraged its appointees on the county boards to “make party line changes to early voting” by limiting the number of hours and keeping polling sites closed on Sundays. While Republicans hold a majority on the local elections board in each of the state’s 100 counties, 70 boards voted to offer more early voting hours than they’d had in the 2012 presidential election, while 23 cut hours from 2012. Of the 21 counties that offered Sunday voting in 2012, nine voted to eliminate it, while 12 agreed to keep Sunday hours. Some of the decisions are awaiting review by the State Board of Elections. In 33 counties, local election boards had split votes, which means their early voting schedules will be determined by the state board when it meets Thursday. Read More

North Carolina: Voting rights and wrongs: Supreme Court blocks a last-ditch attempt to suppress votes in November | The Economist

A basic principle of electoral democracy is that the people pick their leaders. But by tweaking the rules—such as those which govern which forms of identification voters need; when the polls are open; how the ballot is composed—incumbents can tip the balance in favour of one party. Republicans have been particularly active in this endeavour in recent years, crafting rules that make it more difficult for blacks, Hispanics and the poor—core Democratic constituencies—to exercise their right to vote. Most courts to consider challenges to these laws in recent months have rejected them as violations of the Voting Rights Act or the 14th Amendment, or both. Now some of the losers in those cases are trying their hand at one last appeal—to the United States Supreme Court. They are bound to be disappointed.  Read More