Common Cause NC calls on legislature to reject anti-voter bills

RALEIGH – On Wednesday, a divided NC House Rules Committee approved a series of troubling bills that could undermine the freedom of North Carolina voters to fully participate in elections. The measures next go to the full NC House for consideration.

The following statement is from Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause NC:

“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. 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. It is especially concerning that these bills are being pushed through with limited time for public input in what could be the final days of this year’s legislative session.

A million North Carolina voters chose to cast an absentee ballot by mail in 2020. Now, Senate Bill 326 would eliminate the window for county boards of elections to receive absentee ballots by mail up to three days after Election Day, even when those lawful ballots are postmarked on or before Election Day. 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 rejected because of a delay in mail delivery. It’s worth noting 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.

Meanwhile, Senate Bill 725 would bar counties from accepting private grants to fill budget shortfalls in election administration, but the measure would do absolutely nothing to address the crucial need to fully fund our state’s election system. And House Bill 259 would recklessly use unreliable information about jury excusals in purging voter rolls, potentially removing eligible voters and fueling harassment of naturalized citizens who exercise their constitutional right to vote.

We call on legislators to reject these bills. Rather than creating unnecessary barriers to the ballot box, lawmakers should work in a bipartisan way to support our election system and make casting a ballot accessible for every North Carolina voter. We must protect the freedom of all North Carolina voters to participate in our elections.”

Common Cause NC is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy.

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