RALEIGH, N.C. (May 28, 2020) — In response to the realities of the COVID-19 crisis, Senate lawmakers have proposed emergency election legislation that seeks to expand voting access and secure voters’ ability to cast a ballot at home or in-person in the upcoming 2020 elections.
As proposed, Senate Bill 861, sponsored by Senator Natasha Marcus (D-Mecklenburg), Senate Minority Whip Jay Chaudhuri (D-Wake), and Senator Valerie Foushee (D-Orange), would provide two important categories of funding and protection for voters, which Democracy NC supports.
First, SB861 would expand absentee voting access, by allowing absentee by mail requests by email, phone, fax, and via a secure online portal, reduce vote-by-mail witness requirements from two signatures to one, and provide absentee voters with pre-paid postage and envelopes.
Second, SB861 would help protect in-person voting, by increasing flexibility to help counties recruit additional poll workers, and providing sanitary supplies and protective equipment to maintain healthy polling places.
SB861 would also establish the 2020 General Election Day as a paid state holiday and allocate $500,000 from state funds to the State Board of Elections to educate citizens about voting elections this year.