North Carolina's Omnibus "Voter Protection" Bill Finally Arrives

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 23 2013 1:04 PM

North Carolina's Omnibus "Voter Protection" Bill Finally Arrives

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Voting is set to get harder in the Tar Heel State.

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

RALEIGH, N.C.—Around 6 p.m. at yesterday's Moral Monday rally, Democrats from the state legislature told activists that the voter ID bill they were there to protest had been altered. At 2 p.m. Tuesday (today), they'd get to see the new, omnibus "voter protection" bill that Republicans had jawed about for weeks.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

Josh Stein helpfully put the details on his Facebook page:

The bill now does the following:

*shortens early voting by 1 week, 
*eliminates same day registration and provisional voting if at wrong precinct,
*prevents counties from offering voting on last Saturday before the election beyond 1 pm, 
*prevents counties from extending poll hours by one hour on election day in extraordinary circumstances (like lengthy lines), 
*eliminates state supported voter registration drives and preregistration for 16/17 year olds, 
*repeals voter owned judicial elections and straight party voting, 
*increases number of people who can challenge voters inside the precinct, and 
*purges voter rolls more often.

Meanwhile, it floods the democratic process with more money. The bill makes it easier for outside groups to spend on electioneering and reduces disclosure of the sources. It also raises the contribution limits to $5k per person per election from $4k and indexes to amount to rise with inflation.
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The bill itself does what Stein said it would, though this addition sort of appeared out of nowhere.

NO MANDATED VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVE
SECTION 19.1. G.S. 163-82.25 is repealed.

That little line ends "Citizens Awareness Month," an annual occurence during which the State Board of Elections runs a voter registration drive. Did the state prove some sort of run of fraudulent activity during those months? Oh, no, but they're gone anyway. The usual Democratic strategy for making North Carolina competitive gets several legs knocked out from under it.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.