North Carolina residents would have one week less to cast ballots before state and local elections in legislation narrowly approved by a House committee on Wednesday. Supporters said the proposal would save money, but opponents argue it would discourage citizens — particularly Democrats — from voting.The House Elections Committee voted 16-14 to delay the start of early voting from the third Thursday before an election to the second Thursday, curbing what’s been a popular method for casting ballots begun with the 2000 elections.
Rep. Bert Jones, the only unaffiliated member of the legislature and a primary bill sponsor, said the bill would save nearly $2,000 per one-stop voting site statewide and save more money for candidates who now must campaign to get people to the polls for up to 18 days. The bill would reduce that maximum to 11 days. He presented a chart showing relatively light turnout during the first current week of early voting since the 2008 primary.
“This is not in any way a negative indictment on early voting,” said Jones, of Rockingham County. “The question is how many election days should we have in North Carolina.”
Democratic Rep. Mickey Michaux of Durham said after the meeting that shortening the time period was designed to decrease turnout among Democrats and black voters, both of whom voted disproportionately during the 2008 election. It comes about a month after the same committee agreed to legislation that would require people who want to vote in person to show photo identification.
Full Article: Cut to early voting advances | JournalNow.com.