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Political Group Moves to Reform N.C. Campaigns

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RALEIGH — After an election many people cry forcampaign reform, but with voter apathy at an all-time low, one group hasvowed to do something about the state of political races.

The Better Campaign Commission met for the first time Monday inResearch Triangle Park and the 14member group spent most of the meeting tossing out ideas on improving thepolitical process in North Carolina. The biggest issue, they feel, is howto get voters back to the polls.

The solution to that one might be found in North Carolina's past.Former governors Jim Martin, Terry Sanford, James Holshouser and RobertScott were among those gathered to talk campaign reform. Scott says hedoesn't like what he's heard from the public.

Just over 60 percent of North Carolina's registered voters went to thepolls in November. That's the lowest turnout on record. The groupsuggested such things as shortening the campaign season and tougheningcampaign finance laws. Jim Goodmon, president of Capitol Broadcasting(WRAL TV5 and WRAL OnLine's parent company), expressed concern about moneyand power.

The general consensus was that voters are strongly affected by toomuch negative information, and too little information overall. Voters JeanMerritt, Martin Walston and Gary Marechek all have bad memories ofnegative ads.

Voters also say they are unhappy about the dispute over redistricting.The bi-partisan Better Campaigns Commission wants to find out what bothersvoters, and then address those issues. The group plans to make suggestionsto the legislature about how laws could be changed.

They plan to meet again next Tuesday.

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