N.C. Republicans finalize passage of an elections bill that could withstand a veto

Raleigh, N.C.: The Republican-controlled North Carolina legislature finalized late Wednesday a far-reaching elections bill that would end a grace period for counting mailed absentee ballots, toughen same-day registration rules and empower partisan observers at polling places.

The House voted 69-47 for changes it made to a measure that the Senate passed in June, followed quickly by senators agreeing to those alterations by a similar party-line vote of 27-18.

GOP supporters and their allies argue the changes are needed to streamline election activities in a growing state and to restore the people’s confidence and trust in voting and the results. The first election that most changes would affect is a primary next March.

“The aim of the bill is to improve our elections,” Rep. Grey Mills, an Iredell County Republican shepherding the measure, told House colleagues earlier Wednesday. “All of it aims to make our processes on Election Day, during early voting, mail-in ballots … more efficient and to make it more user-friendly.”

“I fear that this bill will make it harder to vote,” Rep. Allen Buansi, an Orange County Democrat, said during the House floor debate. “We have an election system that has stood the test of time, and this bill unfortunately threatens that.”

The bill now goes to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who has previously successfully vetoed three provisions contained again within the 40-plus page bill — including the absentee ballot deadline change. In a statement before Wednesday’s votes, he lamented efforts by lawmakers to pass legislation that “hurts the freedom to vote.”

Image courtesy of WITN

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