Voting rights advocates condemn Republican election overhaul bills

Voting rights advocates condemn Republican election overhaul bills

With a newly elected right-wing state Supreme Court, state Republicans are attempting to set voting rights back decades and change how elections are administered in the state. 

The first step came through the conservative-leaning high court’s decision to rehear cases on Voter ID, the state’s felony disenfranchisement law and redistricting. Despite rulings made just a few months ago by the then Democratic-controlled state Supreme Court, the newly elected state court reinstated the controversial photo ID requirement for voting, took away voting rights for those who are no longer incarcerated, and cleared the way for Republicans to redraw the state’s congressional lines in a way that heavily favors the GOP.

The latest step comes in the form of two election bills that are quickly moving through the legislature; Senate Bill 747 and Senate Bill 749.

Senate Bill 749 is a power grab attempt by Republican lawmakers that would strip governors of their power to appoint members of the state Board of Elections, giving that power to themselves.

Senate Bill 747 would eliminate the state’s three-day grace period for mail-in ballots to arrive after an election and still be counted, forcing election officials to throw out legitimate ballots. According to WRAL, in the 2020 elections, nearly 12,000 mail-in ballots came in during the post-election grace period; under the new Republican measure, these ballots would have been cast out. 

“This is a power grab, plain and simple,” Sen. Dan Blue, D-Wake, said in a statement. “Republican lawmakers have tried and failed to take over state and local elections for years.”

The Senate bills are the latest in several attempts from Republicans to change fair election laws and restrict North Carolina voters from exercising their constitutional right to vote.

From gerrymandering districts to making it harder for people who disagree with them to vote, North Carolina Republicans have shown they will do anything to gain an unfair advantage.

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Alanna Joyner

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