“Elections changes advance in Senate”

WRAL:

After close to two hours of debate and discussion, during which lawmakers were roundly criticized by members of the public, a Senate committee passed a raft of elections reforms Tuesday.

House Bill 589 sat idle for three months since the House approved it before undergoing an extreme makeover in recent days to add changes to voter registration, early voting and campaign financing to the initial proposal requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls.

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The legislation proposes to shorten the two-and-a-half week early voting period in general elections by a week, to prohibit counties from extending early voting hours on the Saturday before Election Day to accommodate crowds and to eliminate same-day voter registration during early voting….

Other provisions in the revamped bill include the following:

  • Eliminate pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, who currently can register to vote before they turn 18.

  • Outlaw paid voter registration drives.

  • Eliminate straight-ticket voting.

  • Eliminate provisional voting if someone shows up at the wrong precinct.

  • Prohibit counties from extending poll hours by one hour on Election Day in extraordinary circumstances, such as in response to long lines.

  • Allow any registered voter of a county to challenge the eligibility of a voter rather than just a voter of the precinct in which the suspect voter is registered.

  • Move the presidential primary to first Tuesday after South Carolina’s primary if that state holds its primary before March 15. That would mean North Carolina would have two primaries during presidential elections.

  • Study electronic filing for campaign returns.

  • Increase the maximum allowed campaign contribution per election from $4,000 to $5,000.

  • Loosen disclosure requirements in campaign ads paid for by independent committees.

  • Repeal the publicly funded election program for appellate court judges.

  • Repeal the requirement that candidates endorse ads run by their campaigns.

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