Chuck Tryon is one of the 57 percent of North Carolinians who cast their ballot before Election Day last year. He said it was convenient for both him and his wife, who live in the Raleigh suburb of Holly Springs but face a long commute to their jobs in Fayetteville. “It is incredibly valuable to us,” said Tryon, an English professor at Fayetteville State University. “I have always appreciated it.’’ But early voting – a practice in North Carolina since 2000 – may soon be sharply restricted if the Republican legislature has its way. The legislature is considering bills that would reduce the early voting period from two and half weeks to one week, and would end Sunday voting. It also would end the practice of allowing persons to register and vote on the same day at early voting sites.
The Democrats and their allies have been holding almost daily news conferences charging that this legislation is a partisan effort aimed at depressing Democratic turnout that also will have the effect of inconveniencing all voters in the process. The state NAACP has begun running ads on 14 radio stations and in eight newspapers attacking the efforts, saying they are a partisan attempt to suppress the turnout of black voters.