For a decade, registered North Carolina voters who didn’t go to their home precincts on Election Day – by error or on purpose – could still ensure their top choices would count. They’d fill out a conditional ballot from the incorrect precinct. If officials confirmed soon after that they were legally able to vote in the county, their votes for elections not specific to their home precinct would be tabulated. But Republicans at the legislature say people should be responsible to know where they’re supposed to vote, rather than force election workers to crosscheck their ballots and figure out their lawful choices. So they inserted in their elections overhaul bill passed last month a new law barring those out-of-precinct ballots- usually thousands combined annually in primary and general elections – from being counted at all. “If you do cast you ballot, you should know which precinct you belong in,” said Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, who shepherded the election law through the Senate, calling the change a “small part of the overall streamlining of the election process.”
The prohibition on counting out-of-precinct provisional ballots in the law signed last week by Gov. Pat McCrory hasn’t gotten nearly the publicity as provisions requiring photo identification, reducing the number of early-voting days and ending same-day registration during the early-voting period.
But civil rights and voters groups and their allies find the exclusion onerous enough to cite prominently in lawsuits challenging the law they filed immediately after McCrory signed it. People who vote in the incorrect precincts will have their ballots thrown out, even if they are qualified to vote, and their choices for president, governor and Congress won’t count.
Critics of the new law say the prohibition is one of many obstacles to voting in the new law by Republican legislators that will harm black voters. The State Board of Elections says 7,486 provisional ballots were cast on Election Day last November by voters identified as having gone to the incorrect precinct, and almost 90 percent were counted fully or partially.
Full Article: New NC law cancels ballots cast in wrong precinct – SFGate.