North Carolina

Articles about voting issues in North Carolina.

North Carolina: Opponents cry ‘gerrymander’ as Wake County redistricting advances | News and Observer

A change to Wake County elections, driven by state legislators, drew a step closer to passage Tuesday. After more than two weeks below the radar, Senate Bill 181 reappeared before a state House committee with less than 24 hours’ notice. Republican Sen. Chad Barefoot’s bill would redraw electoral district lines and create two new super-districts, each representing half the county, for the Wake County Board of Commissioners. Instead of casting ballots in each race, as they do now, voters would be limited to two races each. The change likely would curtail the influence of Raleigh’s heavy Democratic presence in current countywide elections. The new lines would consolidate partisan voters in some districts, to a potential Republican advantage. Read More

North Carolina: Cost to switch to paper ballots in Henderson County triples to $3 million | Times-News

Henderson County commissioners thought they were looking at roughly $1 million to comply with a state law requiring the Board of Elections to switch to paper ballots. The estimated cost of replacing its current touchscreen machines has now jumped to $3 million. During a discussion of the unfunded mandate earlier this month, a majority of commissioners said they nonetheless want to hold off on setting aside any money for new voting machines in the coming 2015-16 fiscal year. “I would just say to you that this is a moving target,” advised County Manager Steve Wyatt. “I have no confidence in these numbers; I had no confidence in the previous numbers. What I am confident is right now, the law says you’ve got to change the machines.” Read More

North Carolina: House Democrats push for election changes | WRAL

House Democrats are seeking changes to state election laws that they say will make voting easier in 2016. House Minority Leader Larry Hall unveiled the two bills at a news conference Tuesday. House Bill 239 would restore the week of early voting that was cut from state law by the Voter Information Verification Act, the Republican election overhaul bill passed in 2013. The proposal would be effective in 2016. Prior to VIVA, state law allowed up to 17 days of early voting, including three weekends. The overhaul reduced that to 10 days, including two weekends. Read More


North Carolina: Forsyth County officials get look at elections equipment | Winston-Salem Journal

Forsyth County election officials got a close-up look Wednesday at elections equipment that they are interested in buying. Representatives from Printelect, a supplier of Election Systems & Software equipment, set up equipment for demonstrations at the county government center. Mac Beeson, regional sales manager for ES&S, demonstrated how the equipment works. Steve Hines, Forsyth County’s elections director, put in a budget request this year for about $1.4 million to replace the county’s voting equipment, which is about 10 years old. County commissioners will decide this spring whether to approve the request. Elections administrators from several other counties in the region also stopped by to see the demonstrations on Wednesday. Read More

North Carolina: Judge denies most voter ID motions | Winston-Salem Journal

A North Carolina state judge has declined for now to strike down or uphold photo identification requirements to vote in person starting in 2016 — keeping the path clear for a summer trial in a lawsuit. In a ruling provided Friday to case attorneys, Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan denied a motion by voters and advocacy groups who sued and believe the voter ID mandate is unconstitutional because legislators created another qualification to cast a ballot. But Morgan also refused to accept all the arguments of attorneys representing the state and State Board of Elections to throw out the lawsuit. With the refusals for “judgment on the pleadings” — meaning arguments with essentially no additional evidence — Morgan is indicating factual issues between the court opponents must be resolved. A trial already had been set for July 13. Read More

North Carolina: Wake judge allows case on voter ID law to proceed to trial | News Observer

A Wake County judge has refused to dismiss a challenge to North Carolina’s voter ID law, saying in a ruling issued Friday that most of the claims in the lawsuit are strong enough to take to trial. Judge Mike Morgan dismissed two of six claims made by the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, the A. Philip Randolph Institute and five female voters who contend that requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls violates the North Carolina State Constitution. Attorneys for the legislators behind the 2013 elections-law overhaul argued three weeks ago to Morgan that the case should be dismissed outright and that no one would be prohibited from voting if they did not have one of the acceptable forms of ID. The attorneys for the lawmakers contended that because an ID will not be necessary to cast a mail-in absentee ballot, that the challengers’ arguments have no merits. Read More

North Carolina: Redistricting Bill Gets House Support But May Falter In Senate | WFDD

Support for reforming the way the state’s political maps are drawn is getting bi-partisan support in the State House. A bill to make those changes has 63 co-sponsors, but that far from guarantees it will be passed. The bill is the third attempt by the House since 2011 to put the responsibility for drawing congressional maps in the hands of a non-partisan panel. That power now lies with the lawmakers themselves, which many observers see as a conflict of interest. Jane Pinsky is director of the non-partisan group End Gerrymandering Now. She says she’s encouraged that so many have signed on to the House Bill, but says it still faces an uphill battle in the Senate. Read More

North Carolina: House members file redistricting bill to ban ‘irregularly shaped’ boundaries | News Observer

A bipartisan group of N.C. House members filed the second of two proposals Monday to create a nonpartisan redistricting process. House Bill 92 would be modeled on an Iowa plan that lets lawmakers vote on redistricting proposals drafted by legislative staffers. It would take effect for the next round of redistricting, after the 2020 U.S. Census. The group Common Cause North Carolina, which advocates for election reforms, is pushing for the bill. “For decades, North Carolina’s flawed redistricting system has resulted in gerrymandered districts that deprive voters of having a real voice in their elections,” executive director Bob Phillips said in a statement Tuesday. “We applaud these Republican and Democratic lawmakers for working together to pass reform that would protect the fundamental right of voters to choose their representatives.” Read More

North Carolina: Details on stopping non-US citizens from North Carolina voting released | Greensboro News-Record

A concerted effort by North Carolina officials to prevent non-U.S. citizens from voting in last fall’s elections led to 11 people having their ballots rejected. The State Board of Elections released results of an audit of voter rolls in October that flagged 1,454 registered voters in 81 of the state’s 100 counties as potential non-citizens. Information on the rolls was matched up against data from the state Division of Motor Vehicles and the federal Department of Homeland Security. It’s illegal for a non-citizen to vote or register in North Carolina. More than 2.9 million registered voters voted last fall, or 44 percent of the 6.6 million registered. Read More

North Carolina: Voting machine replacement to cost Guilford County more than $6.5 million | News & Record

Replacing the county’s voting machines to comply with a new state mandate could cost more than $6.5 million. “It’s going to be pricey,” Guilford County Elections Director Charlie Collicutt told the Board of Commissioners at its annual retreat Friday in Colfax. “There is no outside funding from the state, or any other body.” Guilford County residents currently cast their ballots via touch-screen voting machines, which tabulate votes electronically but spit out paper rolls that officials can use to audit election results. Under the mandate, passed by the N.C. General Assembly in 2013, touch-screen machines are still allowed. But votes have to be counted using paper ballots. “What’s tabulated has to be on paper,” Collicutt says. “So our machines will be illegal.” Read More