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House approves two elections changes

Posted May 2, 2013

State House lawmakers have approved two changes they say will help clean up voter rolls and allow counties to save money on runoff elections. 

House Bill 460 would request that funeral directors provide families with the paperwork needed to remove a deceased person from the voter rolls.

Current law allows only a close family member to request a removal, and the family member generally has to go to their county elections board with a death certificate. Sponsor Rep. Pat Hurley, R-Randolph, said making the form available at funeral homes will make voluntary compliance easier. 

The measure also adds will executors, estate administrators, and attorneys to the list of people who can request, with proper documentation, that a deceased voter's name be taken off the rolls.

Co-sponsor Rep. Jamie Boles, R-Moore, said the Department of Health and Human Services currently sends monthly lists of death certificates to counties, but counties aren't always diligent about researching their voter databases for matches. In addition, he said, many people die in medical facilities that aren't located in the county where they're registered to vote. 

House Bill 460 passed unanimously and is headed for the Senate.

A proposal to allow fewer voting sites for second primaries, or runoff elections, also won unanimous support, 112-0. 

House Bill 648 would give counties the option of choosing to open polls only at early voting sites or "vote centers" on Election day in second primaries, instead of having to open polling locations in every precinct. 

County officials would have to apply to the State Elections Board the preceding December for permission to use voting centers. The option would apply to federal and state races only. Local elections in odd-numbered years would be excepted. 

Sponsor Jonathan Jordan, R-Ashe, said Ashe County spent $60.53 per vote in the July 2012 runoff election. The cost was about $15,000, but only 215 people voted.  

Co-sponsor Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, said no county would be forced to use voting centers. "It’s an option for them to do it. If they want to spend the money to open up all those election sites, it’s up to them."  

Both measures now move to the Senate. 

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  • downtowner May 3, 2013

    These two bills are AWESOME! Unfortunately I can't say that about a single other bill from this session. Unanimous approval too. Now that is a sign that a bill is on track.

  • jttm69 May 2, 2013

    Both are good bills. Very sensible.