Common Cause NC opposes bill narrowing window for election boards to receive absentee ballots in North Carolina

RALEIGH – On Wednesday, a divided NC Senate Committee on Redistricting and Elections approved Senate Bill 326 with very little opportunity for public comment. This deeply flawed bill 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. The bill now goes to the Senate Rules Committee.

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. A million North Carolina voters chose to cast an absentee ballot by mail in 2020. 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.

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 invalidated because of a delay in mail delivery. We call on legislators to reject Senate Bill 326.

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.

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. We must protect the freedom of all 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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