Common Cause NC urges Governor Cooper to veto anti-voter Senate Bill 747

RALEIGH – The NC General Assembly on Wednesday night passed Senate Bill 747, which would impose barriers to casting a ballot in North Carolina and could disenfranchise thousands of voters who rely on absentee voting by mail. The bill now goes to Gov. Roy Cooper.

“North Carolina is fortunate to have a secure and accessible election system that works well for voters throughout the state. But instead of building on that success, politicians in the legislature are now placing harmful burdens on voters and election administrators,” said Bob Phillips, Executive Director of Common Cause North Carolina. “Senate Bill 747 is filled with a number of bad ideas that undermine North Carolinians’ freedom to vote. We urge Governor Cooper to veto this unnecessary and damaging bill.”

Among the provisions in Senate Bill 747 is the elimination of a three-day grace period for receiving absentee ballots by mail, potentially jeopardizing the votes of thousands of North Carolinians.

Under a longstanding law adopted with unanimous support by the legislature in 2009, absentee ballots postmarked on or before Election Day can be accepted by county boards of elections up to three days after Election Day.

That three-day grace period has helped ensure voters don’t have their ballot thrown out because of delays or disruptions in mail delivery. Notably, current Republican leaders Sen. Phil Berger and now-House Speaker Tim Moore were among the lawmakers who voted in favor of the three-day grace period in 2009.

But Senate Bill 747 would demolish that important safeguard. Instead, absentee ballots would need to be received by county boards of elections by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, invalidating votes that arrive via mail after that time – even if they are postmarked by Election Day.

“Ending the three-day grace period would cruelly harm older voters, people with disabilities, rural voters and others who rely on mail-in absentee voting as a lifeline for exercising their right to vote,” Phillips said. “North Carolinians who follow well-established rules and cast their ballot on or before Election Day shouldn’t have their vote thrown away because of a delay in mail delivery that’s no fault of their own.”

Common Cause North Carolina is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

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