Senate Repackages Election Reform Proposals

Provisions of Election Integrity Act to make Election Day the election deadline and prohibit private funding of elections separated into two bills

Third bill would fund mobile voter ID units and permit online voter registration

Raleigh, N.C. — Senate Republicans reintroduced components of the Election Integrity Act as separate bills and proposed a third to fund mobile voter ID units and permit online voter registration.

Recent polling, conducted by Cygnal on behalf of the John Locke Foundation, shows startling percentages of voters across all ideologies question whether the 2022 election will be “free and fair.” (The website 538, which rates pollsters, gives Cygnal a B+ and reports the pollster has a slight Democratic bias.)

According to the poll, 60% of Republicans, 43% of unaffiliated voters, and 20% of Democratic voters do not “believe that next year’s elections in North Carolina will be free and fair.”

The proposed bills seek to address dangerously low voter confidence and ameliorate complaints from Democrats that free voter ID cards are difficult to access because voters must leave their homes to obtain them.

Make Election Day the Election Deadline

A proposed committee substitute to Senate Bill 326 would make Election Day the election deadline, consistent with the majority of states, including President Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware. Current law allows absentee ballots to be received by the Board of Elections up to three days after Election Day. Senate Bill 326 would require absentee ballots to be received by Election Day, not three days later.

Election Day is the election deadline in Democratic-controlled states like Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and others. Democrats have tried to argue that aligning North Carolina with these states is an act of voter suppression, though they’ve failed to answer whether Democrats who run states with identical policies are also vote suppressors.

Sen. Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus) said, “Every day that passes without a declared winner just breeds suspicions and conspiracy theories in people’s minds. That’s not healthy. Requiring that at least all the votes are in on Election Day helps minimize the delay in declaring a winner and, for the most part, helps wrap up the process quickly.”

Prohibit Private Funding of Elections Administration

Senate Bill 725 would prohibit private funding of elections administration. Private interests paying for vote collection and counting raises natural suspicions about election integrity.

Sen. Warren Daniel said, “People from all sides should be able to agree that private funding of elections administration raises natural suspicions about the integrity of the process and should be banned.”

Fund Mobile Voter ID Units and Permit Online Voter Registration

Senate Bill 724 would fund mobile units to go to voters’ homes to create free voter identification cards. Democrats have argued that it is too burdensome for people to leave their homes to obtain a free ID card. This measure ameliorates that concern. The bill also permits online voter registration and provides visually impaired voters with ballot access.

Sen. Ralph Hise said, “We’ll find out soon if Democrats really care about helping voters obtain free ID cards or if they just made up that concern in an effort to kill voter ID, which North Carolina voters added to their own Constitution in 2018.”

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