Common Cause NC commends bipartisan bill to prepare state for elections amid COVID-19
RALEIGH – Today, members of the NC House of Representatives filed a bipartisan bill that incorporates a variety of key recommendations from election administrators and democracy advocates to make voting safer and more accessible amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Primary sponsors of House Bill 1169 include Rep. Holly Grange (R-New Hanover) and Rep. Destin Hall (R-Caldwell), who are both co-chairs of the NC House Committee on Elections and Ethics Law, along with committee members Rep. Allison Dahle (D-Wake) and Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford).
Among the proposals in House Bill 1169:
- Reduces the absentee ballot witness requirement from two to one
- Allows voters to submit an absentee ballot request form via email, online portal, fax, mail or in person (currently, NC voters can submit an absentee ballot request form only by mail or in person)
- Gives counties greater flexibility in where they assign poll workers, better allowing them to address possible poll worker shortages at precincts
- Allocates state matching funds to take advantage of federal CARES Act and HAVA money
- Allocates funds to counties to prepare for elections amid COVID-19, including the purchasing of personal protective equipment for use at polling places and increasing recruitment and compensation of poll workers
- Allocates funds for election security and continuity of operations in case of disaster
“This bill is a positive step toward ensuring every eligible North Carolina voter is able to safely and securely cast a ballot in this year’s elections,” said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause NC. “We applaud members on both sides of the aisle for this bipartisan effort. As the bill makes its way through each legislative chamber, we urge lawmakers to be responsive to suggestions from election experts and the public. Ultimately, it is crucial that we work together to fully prepare our state to conduct an election that is free and fair for all.”
Common Cause NC is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy.