On a party-line vote, the House Elections committee voted today to shorten the early voting period from 18 days to 11 days. Early or “one-stop” voting has become increasingly popular over the past few years. A recent study by Catawba College professor Dr. Michael Bitzer found that 60% of the ballots cast in NC’s 2008 general election were cast before Election Day, up from 30% in 2004.
Bitzer also found Democrats were more likely to use early voting than Republicans. The NC Free Enterprise Foundation has a nice writeup here. “We’re not trying to do away with early voting in any way,” H658 sponsor Bert Jones, U-Rockingham, told the committee. “The question is, how many election days should we have in North Carolina?”
Jones said data shows most early voting takes place within the final 9 days of early voting. He says cutting the first week of early voting would save local election boards “approximately 2000 dollars a day per site.” It would also save candidates money on campaign advertising, Jones said.
Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake, said the extra week helps lessen long lines at sites in urban areas like Wake County. “Elections are about voters, not about politicians,” Ross said. “This is just another way of cutting down on the number of people who vote,” said Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham.
Full Article: House panel moves to cut early voting :: WRAL.com.