Pro-democracy groups oppose attempt by NC legislature to impose barriers to voting by mail

RALEIGH – Common Cause NC joined other pro-democracy groups at the state legislature on Monday in opposition to an attempt by lawmakers to enact barriers to voting by mail in North Carolina.

Senate Bill 326 would eliminate the three-day window for county boards of elections to receive absentee ballots by mail after Election Day, even when those ballots are postmarked on or before Election Day.

“Last year’s historic election saw record turnout in North Carolina and showed how participation in our democracy can thrive when voting is made accessible for all voters,” said Jane Pinsky of Common Cause NC. “Sadly, instead of building on last year’s election success, some politicians now want to take our state backward and make casting a ballot more difficult for North Carolinians.”

Pinsky noted that in 2009, the NC General Assembly voted unanimously in both chambers to establish the three-day grace period for receiving absentee ballots by mail. Among those voting in favor of the three-day window in 2009 were Sen. Phil Berger and now-House Speaker Tim Moore. Senate Bill 326 would eliminate that three-day grace period.

“There is absolutely no evidence that this change is needed. It would simply hurt North Carolina voters, especially those in rural communities, who follow the rules but could have their ballot unfairly invalidated because of a delay in mail delivery,” Pinsky said. “We call on all members of the General Assembly to reject Senate Bill 326.”

In addition to Common Cause NC, groups speaking at the press conference included NC Voters for Clean Elections, the North Carolina NAACP, Democracy North Carolina, NC Black Voters Matter, NC Black Alliance, Southern Coalition for Social Justice and the ACLU of North Carolina.

“Rather than creating unnecessary barriers to the ballot box, lawmakers should work in a bipartisan way to make casting a ballot accessible for every North Carolina voter,” Pinsky said. “We must protect the freedom of all voters to participate in our elections.”

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