House lawmakers are expected to vote today on Senate Bill 47, a sweeping rewrite of state election laws that would restrict access to early voting and ban same-day voter registration. The measure has the backing of the GOP leadership and could be headed to the governor's desk by tomorrow.
One provision in the bill would prohibit early voting on Sundays – the day some African-American churches organize "Souls to the Polls" voting drives.
Critics of the measure say the provision is aimed squarely at reducing African-American turnout.
Those supporting the Sunday voting ban have had difficulty explaining why it's needed. House Elections chairman David Lewis would only say, "The Senate wanted it."
Asked about the ban at a press conference today, Senate Leader Phil Berger said, "It's my understanding that there are some folks who feel that Sundays should not be mixed politics and religion, that it’s probably better to have a day that folks take a day off from politics. That’s one of the comments that I’ve heard."
Is that a good enough reason to keep people from voting on that day?
"Again, that’s just the comment I’ve heard," Berger responded.
The measure is expected on the House floor sometime later today.
The questions are near the end of the press conference at right.