Email from GOP executive director calls for limited early voting hours

Posted August 17, 2016
Updated August 18, 2016

— The North Carolina Republican Party is lobbying for limited early voting hours, and Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse is calling on appointed county boards of elections officials across the state to make the changes.

The comments are proof that the November elections in North Carolina could be a fight to the finish, with each side jockeying to position its respective parties for a solid showing.

WRAL News obtained a copy of a recent email sent by Woodhouse to GOP elections officials across the state about limiting early voting hours.

In the email, Woodhouse writes “Republicans should fight with all they have to promote safe and secure voting and for rules that are fair to our side.”

Woodhouse made the point that Democrats are mobilizing for a fight over early voting locations and times and filling up election board meetings to demand changes.

To that end, Woodhouse wrote, “Our Republican board members should feel empowered to make legal changes to early voting plans that are supported by Republicans.”

In the email, Woodhouse also pushed for county elections boards to close polling places on Sundays and eliminate polling sites on college campuses.

Bob Hall, executive director of voting rights group Democracy North Carolina, called Woodhouse’s email irresponsible.

“Many Republican board members have more allegiance to their oath than to the directives from Dallas Woodhouse,” Hall said in a statement.

Hall also pointed out that early voting plans could help Republicans in 2016, just as they did in 2010 when the biggest users of early voting sites were white Republican men.

After the emails were made public, Woodhouse defended his position.

“The county board members are an independent body, and we have the right to lobby them as much as anybody else for Republican positions,” he said in a statement.


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  • Betsy Sparks Aug 21, 7:51 p.m.
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    North Carolina starts sending out absentee ballots on Sept. 9 - 60 days before the election. NC has the longest absentee balloting period in the country. The government is already accommodating that early voting, so people who are willing to get to a polling place should also get the chance to submit their ballot early as well.

  • Eric Hammond Aug 20, 9:13 p.m.
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    "If it were an affirmatively stated right then it would be unnecessary to modify how it cannot be abridged. Now, Article VI of the NC Constitution does guarantee everyone over the age of 18 to vote." Skip Harris

    The NC Constitution is backed up by the US Constitution (or more exactly the 15th Amendment) - "...The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State..."

    HMMMM... the GOP despises the Constitution and Amendments thereto... they ARE NOT "conservative" the ARE radical right-wing historical revisionists

  • Lance Boyle Aug 19, 12:52 p.m.
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    SPARKS has lit a fire that only a GOP lie can try to put out.

  • Betsy Sparks Aug 19, 8:45 a.m.
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    Do you know why voting takes place on a Tuesday? Because when voting first took place, farmers needed a day to travel to their voting site, and the Christian farmers could not travel on the Sabbath. In other words, the voting schedule was set up to accommodate schedules to improve voter turnout. We're no longer an agrarian society, and it only takes minutes for most people to get to a voting site. We accommodate those who can't get to a voting place by allowing an absentee ballot. We need to adjust the voting schedule to facilitate the voters in our current society, where many people work hourly jobs and need a larger time window for getting to a polling place. It's time to move out of the 19th century and into the 21st.

  • Mike Jones Aug 18, 5:19 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

    ok skippy, that comb over is getting outta hand and you're turning a tad orange

  • Mike Jones Aug 18, 5:15 p.m.
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    sorry skippy but I have no problems with the Democratic Party. We don't do the things that republicans do to get their names in the paper. How many lawsuits had our current GA win? Zip skippy, zip.

  • Sam Nada Aug 18, 4:12 p.m.
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    Yeah you're right, I don't have the data to say that early voters are "predominately" Dems. But a large majority of black voters vote early, and that's not the GOP constituency. The GOP has made a calculation that suppressing early voting is to their advantage, thus the law that was recently declared unconstitutional in court, and this email that is imploring election officials to do whatever they can to minimize it. What possible motive would they have for making voting less convenient?

  • Lee Rogers Aug 18, 2:28 p.m.
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    Most every "right" in the constitution is also framed this way. It done not say you have a right to free speech - it says "...or abridging the freedom of speech..."

    But tell you what skipper - you go down to federal court and file suit to challenge the right to vote as unconstitutional. It will give you something worthwhile to do.

  • Skip Harris Aug 18, 2:04 p.m.
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    The "right to vote" is never affirmatively enumerated in the US Constitution. It states what restrictions cannot be placed upon individuals casting a ballot but that is a different thing. Every mention of the "right to vote" is modified with "shall not be abridged by....." If it were an affirmatively stated right then it would be unnecessary to modify how it cannot be abridged. Now, Article VI of the NC Constitution does guarantee everyone over the age of 18 to vote.

  • Rod Runner Aug 18, 2:03 p.m.
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    However, that still means more white people voted early, because the African American population is only 22% in NC, while white is 71%.