MORRISVILLE, NC (06/05/2023) — Last week, North Carolina lawmakers introduced a major elections bill that will dramatically restrict voter access to the ballot and remove popular voting methods used by North Carolinians of all political stripes. Senate Bill 747 includes many anti-voter provisions that have been successfully vetoed in previous years by Governor Roy Cooper, including:
- Removing the 3-day grace period for mailed ballots shortening the window when absentee ballots can be returned to their respective county boards of elections;
- Prohibiting state and county boards of elections, and county commissioners, from receiving private funding (either directly or indirectly) for conducting elections or employing individuals on a temporary basis, and;
- Mandating a voter purge program that will unjustly target people suspected of being non-citizens based solely on unreliable jury excusal lists maintained by clerks of court.
Cleta Mitchell, a legal strategist best known for working with former President Donald Trump to try to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, was seen meeting at the NC General Assembly with Senator Ralph Hise, a main sponsor of the bill, days before S747 was filed. As the national leader for the “Election Integrity Network,” Cleta boasts a regional presence within the North Carolina-based “Voter Integrity Project,” shepherding a new wave of election denial and administrative criticism amongst voters and top leaders.
Democracy North Carolina, a statewide voter protection group, has stood for decades at the frontlines of legislative ballot battles, including in 2013 when former Gov. Pat McCrory signed a similar elections law bill that included dozens of provisions to vastly restrict who can vote, where, when, and how.
“This is yet another insidious attempt by extremist lawmakers to undermine free and fair elections, and sow distrust in our administrative processes,” said Cheryl Carter, Co-Executive Director for Democracy NC. “Instead of building upon the historical momentum of the 2020 presidential election – when voter turnout hit an all-time high – state leaders are hastily ushering North Carolinians back to a time where vulnerable communities, specifically Black voters, faced extreme hardships and political violence at the polls. The era of ‘Jim Crow’ seemingly never vanished in the South; it only twisted itself into this modern version of ‘Election Integrity’ and denial.
While we certainly hope the state legislature will quickly realize the danger this package could pose for thousands of poll workers and voters across the aisle, we remain vigilant in our advocacy and encourage every voter from every county to contact their lawmaker and let them know that S747 will significantly limit their access to the ballot and cause confusion and chaos for local election officials.”
Democracy North Carolina is a statewide nonpartisan organization that uses research, organizing, and advocacy to strengthen democratic structures, build power among disenfranchised communities, and inspire confidence in a transformed political process that works for all.