North Carolina lawmakers are poised to approve one of the strictest voter ID requirements in the nation, curtail early voting, and limit voter registration efforts under a Republican-crafted bill that expanded Tuesday to include a far-reaching rewrite of the state’s election laws. The measure crystallizes a legislative term in which Republicans flexed their unprecedented political muscle to shift the state’s political compass, and ensures that the session ends with a bitter partisan fight that will draw more national scrutiny. The bill’s sponsors say the measures are needed to restore integrity to the state’s elections, despite statistics showing little verified voter fraud. Democrats say the legislation is a thinly veiled attempt by the state’s ruling party to cement its advantage for future elections, rammed through the legislature in the final days of the session. The full Senate is expected to approve the measure Wednesday and send it to the House, where Speaker Thom Tillis said it would pass.
Earlier this year, the House approved legislation requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls, but it allowed state-issued college IDs and didn’t include most of the other voting limits. The Senate’s version is more restrictive and expansive.
The bill cuts early voting by a week, repeals same-day voter registration, allows counties to limit Sunday voting, halts pre-registration of 16- and 17-year-olds, and ends straight-ticket voting.