Among the bills introduced late at night and ratified in a hurry last week was a radically changed SB 325, The Uniform and Expanded Early Voting Act. This bill, which originally was about state and local income taxes, now eliminates the last early voting Saturday before this November's election and creates uniform early voting hours across the state.
Like the voter ID bill, SB 325 reflects deceiving and piecemeal early voting changes that are designed to look helpful, but that will ultimately hurt voters and the popular weekend days and voting sites they use. Based on data from previous elections, cancelling the last Saturday before the election will disproportionately affect African American voters. Legislators did not see fit to solicit input from or even inform the Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement or county Boards of Elections (BoEs). It's on the governor's desk; if he vetoes it, which seems likely, the legislature will override his veto. NC early voting is the victim in NCGA's slasher movie.
What can we do now? We can get involved with our county Boards of Election and support strong early voting plans. The way voting laws are applied in North Carolina is often decided at the local level. In many counties, the BoE isn't used to having citizens show up at their meetings, so that in itself can be important. Democracy NC has created great resources like advocacy packets and FAQs to support getting involved with your county BoE. You can even become a Democracy NC BoE monitor!
Some county BoEs are meeting this week; click here to find your county's website with their meeting times.
- Greene, 6/19 at 7 p.m. 110 SE 1st Street, Snow Hill
- Brunswick, 6/19 at 2 p.m. Commissioners’ Chambers- Administration Building- 30 Government Center Dr. NE, Bolivia
- Guilford, 6/19 at 2 p.m. (call 336-641-7895 for location)
- Mecklenburg, 6/20 at 1 p.m. 741 Kenilworth Ave. Suite 202, Charlotte
- Forsyth, 6/21 at 5 p.m. Forsyth County Government Center, 201 North Chestnut Street