Bill requires jury excuses be reported to NC elections board

Posted June 4, 2015
Updated June 5, 2015

State Board of Elections sign

— The reason potential jurors are excused from jury duty would be reported to the State Board of Elections under a House bill cleared by the Senate's Judiciary II Committee on Thursday.

Many of the reasons that someone can't serve as a juror, such as being a convicted felon who has not regained their citizenship rights, no longer living in the state or not being a citizen, also would disqualify someone from voting.

"This is just another safeguard that the people who are voting are entitled to vote," said Sen. Shirley Randleman, R-Wilkes.

Starting next year, voters will be required to show photo identification to vote in North Carolina. That measure is part of a series of steps GOP lawmakers have taken in order to ensure people don't vote unlawfully. While Republicans say such measures are aimed at cleaning up the voter rolls, Democrats frequently challenge the measures as disenfranchising voters, particularly low-income people.

House Bill 100 requires that clerks of court record the reason someone is excused from jury service, make that information public record and periodically share the information with the State Board of Elections.

"This bill does not require anyone to be removed from the voter rolls," Rep. George Cleveland, R-Onslow, said. "This gives the Board of Elections information."

The idea, Cleveland said, was that the board could then investigate whether the person is registered to vote, and if so, whether they should remain a voter.

Some clerks, including Wake County's clerk of court, already record the reasons people are excused from jury service. That information has been used to try to root out non-citizen voters – with mixed results. In some cases, the notation that someone isn't a citizen mean they no longer live in the state, not that they were from overseas. In other cases, a juror is excused for not being a citizen and then later becomes a naturalized citizen.

"I am worried that we are creating a scenario where someone can be thrown off inappropriately," Sen. Angela Bryant, D-Nash, said, adding that she didn't see the jury and Board of Elections data as "apples to apples."

Backers of the bill pointed out that the state board would be given the date someone was excused from jury service as well as the reason, which would allow the board to sort through different situations.

"I don't think it disenfranchises anyone," Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, said.

The committee approved the measure on a voice vote. It next goes to the Senate floor.


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  • Eric Hammond Jun 6, 2015
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    scariest part of all - will my name be removed from voter rolls because when I called to see if I was needed (just as instructed) I was told "no, you do not have to report, you're not needed and was hence "excused" - if this happens, i wonder how many times it will happen to registered democrats vs. republicans, and what areas will people be "inadvertently" removed - much like the 4000 plus purely democrat voters were "inadvertently" removed in Florida a few years ago - throwing an entire presidential election (oh, yeah remember THAT? one was a recently honorably discharged vet. awarded a silver - star, who had the misfortune of having the same name as a felon 5 states away despite the fact that one was white (the felon) and the other black (the hero). oh, and SSN and birthdays weren't even close either

  • Kristin Byrne Jun 5, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Some people have good reason. They may not get paid for time they miss from work due to jury duty. They may not have child care. They may not have transportation. Not everyone is looking to get out of it just because they don't want to go.

    I have jury duty this month and I don't want to go because I'm busy at work, and I'll be missing a meeting that day. Not trying to get out of my civic duty. Just wishing I didn't have to miss my employment duty.

  • Eric Hammond Jun 5, 2015
    user avatar

    being elderly (aka. old enough to have recited the pledge of allegiance without "under god" in it, old enough to remember the Eisenhower administration, and have an accurate US history in grade school) is also a reason that jurors are excused - will THAT be disqualification for voting?

  • Matt Wood Jun 5, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    It already happened, I was just using it as an example of why it hasn't exactly been thought out very well.

  • Matthew Danielson Jun 5, 2015
    user avatar

    1. Since Wake County already does this, how many people will have been removed from the voter rolls?

    2. How much will this cost the taxpayers in resources?
    A. Someone will be required to send the information to the Board.
    B. Someone will be required to receive the information.
    C. Time to decided to investigate the issue.
    D. Average cost of the investigations.

    I wonder if a cost benefit analysis was done and considered.

  • Paul Maxwell Jun 4, 2015
    user avatar

    Chalk up another ridiculous bill from the "party of small government".

  • Ty Rammstein Jun 4, 2015
    user avatar

    because the current GOP is so identified with trying to rig election results particularly with voter registration, any savvy and thinking citizens has to suspect that there is a more sinister reason for the GOP to want to do this. and making a private and legitimate reason not to serve public just smells rotten to me.

  • David Bunn Jun 4, 2015
    user avatar

    Good! People need to stop trying to get out of doing their civil duties.

  • Mark Cline Jun 4, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    This hasn't been passed, yet, but you just informed the public, yourself.

  • Matt Wood Jun 4, 2015
    user avatar

    I was excused from jury duty because I already had paid for an overseas trip during that time. Now it will be public record that I am going on vacation. Thanks for making that information public so I can be robbed!