Concerned North Carolinians and local organizations denounced on Monday a group of bills advancing through the state Senate that would make changes to absentee voting and limit sources of funding for election administration in North Carolina.
Republican backed Senate bills 326, 724 and 725, which are expected on the Senate floor this week, mirror the GOP’s coordinated national effort to keep our communities, particularly Black, Brown and marginalized communities, from exercising their constitutional right to vote.
- If Senate Bill 326 became law, it would require counties to throw out thousands of absentee ballots that arrive after 5 p.m. on Election Day, even if they were mailed before Election Day.
- “Throwing away thousands upon thousands of legitimate votes won’t provide election finality any sooner,” said Allison Riggs, a co-executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. “It will just needlessly disenfranchise voters who can’t vote in person and who rely on USPS to deliver their ballot.”
- Senate Bill 724 is an attempt to use taxpayer dollars to enforce voter ID law, a voter suppression tactic by Republicans which has historically been struck down by courts due to its “history of racial discrimination and voter suppression stretching back to the time of slavery”.
- Senate Bill 725 would undermine our local election officials by making it harder for counties, especially in under-resourced communities, to fund their elections — essentially stripping them of the resources (such as funding for PPE, pens, pencils, etc) they need to run safe and accessible elections.
- “As we’re seeing across the country this year, hundreds of bills that chip away at voting access are being advanced at an alarming rate. The bills being considered at our General Assembly come from this national playbook,” said Chantal Stevens, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina.
Senate Bills 326, 724 and 725 are among the 389 voter suppression bills in 48 states that are aimed at securing the GOP’s hold on power by any means, regardless of our communities’ need for relief, our state’s recovery or the impact their discriminatory bills cause.
These bills are just the latest in a long history of Republicans’ disenfranchising eligible North Carolina voters, especially Black and Brown voters who already have difficulty accessing different voting options due to systemic racism and historical GOP voter suppression efforts.
As Manny Mejia, an organizer at Democracy NC stated, “These bills are not about election integrity and they are not about transparency. They are about controlling who has the right to vote by repeating tactics that have historically disenfranchised voters.”