More than a third of North Carolina’s counties are asking for an exemption from part of the sweeping election overhaul the General Assembly passed last year. Those exemptions would allow counties to cut early voting periods beyond what the new law already does. There are a couple ways to look at the early voting changes that are part of the overhaul. On a calendar, it’s simple: there are seven fewer days of early voting. But Republicans who back the law have argued that’s not really a cut. Governor Pat McCrory explained how on WFAE’s Charlotte Talks a few months ago. “The number of hours of early voting is going to be the exact same number of hours,” he said.
That’s another way to look at it: by hours. Counties still have to offer the same total hours of early voting. They just have seven fewer days to work with. And counties get that total number by adding up the hours they had at each polling site.
At least, that’s how the law was written. In reality, four counties will cut days and hours. Many others are asking the state Board of Elections if they can, too.
“We have 35 that have been considered by the state board, and then perhaps a handful beyond that,” said George McCue with the state Board of Elections.