Common Cause NC statement on proposed elimination of final Saturday in early voting period

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RALEIGH – Near midnight last night, a surprise new version of Senate Bill 325 was posted without prior notice, proposing the elimination of the widely popular final Saturday of early voting and making other changes to the early voting period.

The bill was passed by the NC House Rules Committee just hours later, with little time for public input or review by election administrators. The measure now goes to the full House for consideration.

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

“While most North Carolinians were asleep last night, a handful of politicians in Raleigh rolled out dramatic and troubling changes to our state’s successful early voting period. A surprise new version of Senate Bill 325 was released at midnight and scheduled to be heard in a committee just hours later. The bill would eliminate the popular final Saturday of early voting – for no good reason.

“Early voting has been widely used by voters of all parties. Over the past several elections, hundreds of thousands of ballots have been cast on the final Saturday of early voting. These proposed changes would especially hurt African-American voters, who have utilized early voting at a higher rate than other groups. The result of this senseless bill would be fewer options for voters, confusion among the public and increased barriers to the polls.

“The way that this surprise bill was introduced in the dead of night, with no notice and little chance for public input, is an insult to our state’s citizens. And it makes a mockery of the legislature’s duty to responsibly serve the people of North Carolina, instead of recklessly rushing through partisan ploys that undermine our elections. This is no way to govern.”

Common Cause NC is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to encouraging citizen participation in democracy.

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