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@NCCapitol

GOP seeks sweeping election law rewrite

Posted June 14, 2011

Just days from the end of session, House Republican leaders have unveiled a massive rewrite of the state’s election laws.

Senate Bill 47, introduced with little notice in House Elections this afternoon, would repeal same-day registration in North Carolina, ban straight-ticket voting, shorten the early-voting period by a week, and ban early voting on Sundays (popular with churches for “Souls to the Polls” voting drives).

It would also repeal publicly-financed elections for the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Insurance Commissioner and Treasurer.

The measure also makes changes to campaign finance, creating a new type of account at political parties – a “headquarters” account – that could accept corporate money for operational support, though not for electioneering purposes.

“This is just a compilation of ideas that have come from House members and Senate members,” said House Elections Chairman Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett.

“We do think it would improve the integrity of the elections process,” Lewis said. “And by not providing some of these services, we will save money.”

No public comment was allowed at the committee meeting.

Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, called it “worse than an abomination,” saying the measure was aimed squarely at election laws that had helped the Democrats win the White House in 2008.

“This bill is really anti-voter,” said Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake. “It takes away every type of convenience and accessibility we’ve given to voters.”

After some debate, the committee amended the bill to remove the section that would repeal same-day voter registration. They made a couple other minor changes, too.

But Damon Circosta with the non-partisan Center for Voter Education says it’s still a bad bill all the way around.

“S47 would make it easier for big money to flow into politics,” Circosta said. “It includes all sorts of ways to make it harder for people to vote, while at the same time making it easier for moneyed interests to play the game.”

The measure lost its first committee vote Tuesday afternoon because some Republican committee members were not present. But Lewis says he’ll use a parliamentary maneuver to bring it back tonight or tomorrow when more Republicans are in the room.

“It’s ironic that they’re going to get to vote twice to restrict citizens’ ability to vote once,” Circosta responded.

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  • SARCASTICLES Jun 15, 2011

    The GOP isn't concerned with "liberal" concepts like facts or evidence. Using talking points, fear, greed, and the exploitation of the Ignorati are the tools they use to get elected. It works. The herd still believes that Bush had absolutely nothing to do with destroying our economy between 2000-2008.....saying otherwise is considered blasphemy by these "Real Americans". ;)

  • Mango Jun 15, 2011

    They've added the provision to eliminate Same Day Registration back into the bill. These ultra-conservatives are bringing NC right back to the Dark Ages.

  • melanie3 Jun 15, 2011

    millions have been spent in this nation because the GOP has convinced people that there is voter fraud, nominal evidence of fraud has been found. Despite this being their caling card, which again has been disproven, why is the GOP really working so hard across the nation to stop voting? And why are so many regular voters helping?

  • SARCASTICLES Jun 15, 2011

    Gee, Captain America....we thought it was OUR country, not MINE or YOURS. Thanks for admitting it in public, anyhow. ;)

  • 1 awesome Dad Jun 14, 2011

    Hey Phil Berger and the rest of you crooked lying lych mob politicans quit worrying about election laws and start worrying about cutting the unemployment rate in half. Start working towards making NC a business friendly state to conduct business in and with.

    Maybe the people of NC need to get a babysitting tax break for all the childish and immature antics that are happening on Jones St. with the GOP.

  • For the U.S.A. Jun 14, 2011

    All of the DEMS are going to be whining about all of this! They set the districts in their favor last time and do not have much control this time. I say STICK IT TO THEM!!! They have just about ruined my country!

  • TheBullCity Jun 14, 2011

    If the Rep Lewis thinks this will do anything but energize the democrats, he is dumber than he sounds.

  • rddement Jun 14, 2011

    This is to ensure to reduce some of the shenanigans of the democrats. It should have been done years ago.

  • whirledps Jun 14, 2011

    what do you expect from the gop? they know they are screwed in 2012 unless they can deny the right to vote to every citizen that might be a threat to their power consolidation. who would have thought politicians could be so low and devious? oh wait, unemployment compensation, budget, layoffs, tax breaks for the rich... Nope they are just doing what the gop does, favor the wealthy and corporations while the poor and middle class become poorer. same skunk, same stripes