Two bills filed by Republican lawmakers seek to cut back early voting and eliminate same-day registration in North Carolina. Senate Bill 428, filed by Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, would cut the early voting period from two weeks to one and would eliminate same-day voter registration. House Bill 451, filed by Rep. Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell, goes even further. In addition to cutting early voting and same-day registration, it would also outlaw early voting on Sunday and straight-ticket voting. “I just think that we will put some balance into the election process,” Starnes said. Democrats say such bills are intended to make it harder to vote and will disproportionately affect low-income, working and minority voters – groups that traditionally favor Democrats.
The Sunday ban, in particular, would affect popular “Souls to the Polls” voting drives at African-American churches.
“I think Sundays just should be – some things you just shouldn’t do on Sundays, so I am just opposed to voting on Sunday,” Starnes said.
Both parties have benefited from early voting in North Carolina, which has become increasingly popular. More than 2 million voters, or about 40 percent of those who voted statewide, used one-stop sites in the 2012 general election.
Straight-ticket voting is also a popular option for voters in both parties. In 2012, 1.4 million Democrats and 1.1 million Republicans in North Carolina voted a straight-party ticket.
Tillman said his bill isn’t meant to be partisan, noting all voters would still have equal access to the polls. Meanwhile, he said, keeping early voting sites open for two weeks costs money that could be better spent elsewhere.
Full Article: GOP seeks to curb early voting :: WRAL.com.