Heading into a presidential election in which North Carolina could be pivotal, a new Republican-backed bill would curtail early voting in the state and bar new voters from registering at the polls. The Senate bill introduced last week would shrink the early-voting period by at least a week, end it on Sundays and stop so-called “same-day registration.”
“We were just trying to minimize the time early voting polls were open … so the expense is not so great for local election boards,” Sen. Jim Davis, a Macon County Republican who sponsored the bill, said Monday. “Everybody who wants to vote still can vote.” It’s unclear how much support the bill has, even among Republicans. The bill is still in a Senate committee and has a long way to go before it could become law.
But critics see the bill as part of a series of measures – including one to require voters to show a photo ID and another to do away with bilingual ballots – they say would reduce voter turnout.
“They seem to want to make voting more difficult and make it harder to be involved in our election process,” said Damon Circosta, executive director of the N.C. Center for Voter Education. “Democracy really only works when we’ve got as may people involved as possible.”