The Next Battle in NC: Early Voting

As Michael Wines reported in today’s NY Times, the 4th Circuit’s order in the North Carolina voting case had the effect of restoring an older law that gives discretion to counties to set early voting days and sites. A Republican party official has been pushing these boards (which are 2-1 Republican) to cut back on early voting dates and sites to hurt Democrats. The guy, Dallas Woodhouse, got caught sending an email about this to this effect and then told the NY Times that this was all about “rebalanc[ing] the scales” after Democrats made it easier for folks to vote.

Now, in the longer term, Woodhouse’s comments, and the actions of the boards, and eventually the state election board, could figure into an attempt to use Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act to get North Carolina back under federal supervision of its voting.

In the short term, there could well be court actions should early voting days get scaled back too much.  Whether that works or not, we’ll have to wait and see. But Democrats could well try, if only to keep the issue in the news that (1) Republicans are making it harder, not easier for people to vote; and (2) that burden falls on people most likely to vote for Democrats.

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