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Democracy NC’s Testimony on Voter ID and Absentee Voting

Morrisville, N.C. — Democracy North Carolina submitted written testimony on June 21 to Rep. Maria Cervania and the NC House Oversight and Reform Committee regarding concerns for Voter ID Implementation and the attacks on Absentee Voting.

The letter includes number of concerns with how the implementation of Voter ID will impact voters and our election process in 2023 and 2024, stating:

  • the current iteration of the Voter ID law remains the disenfranchisement of legitimate voters,
  • the new Voter ID requirement is likely to reduce participation even among voters who do have an acceptable photo ID,
  • student voters are especially vulnerable to disenfranchisement under the structure of SL 2018-144,
  • the extra time and attention required from poll workers to administer the voter ID requirement led to long lines and heightened frustrations at polling sites, and
  • the interaction between Senate Bill 747 in its current form and photo voter ID in the 2024 election will lead to major confusion among voters and poll workers alike.

In addition, the letter reflects concerns about the lack of clarity around state funding for Voter ID’s imminent roll-out. With no FY 2023-2024 budget in place and as-yet-unresolved differences between the NC House and Senate versions of the budget, the NCSBE cannot yet confirm what level of voter outreach and advertising about the new requirement it will be able to conduct. For example, will there be another round of mailers to voters who appear to lack the most common form of photo ID, based on DMV data? Will there be an extensive advertising campaign about the Voter ID requirements before the 2024 General Election, when many voters will cast their ballot for the first time since 2020?

As for absentee by mail, the testimony details how cumbersome and confusing the mail-in absentee voting process is for voters, adding that the additional photo ID requirements, the elimination of the three-day grace period, and other proposed “election integrity” changes will make it worse.

Based on the feedback from voters in the 2020 and 2022 cycles, Democracy NC offers the following recommendations for making the mail-in absentee voting process less confusing and more accessible for voters, including: eliminate the witness requirement for absentee ballots; allow voters to fix mistakes on their absentee ballots; offer paid postage on absentee ballots; offer secure drop boxes for returning mail ballots; allow voters to pick up their absentee ballot from their county boards of elections, and more.

The written testimony was submitted in a letter sent to the House committee. The full letter is available below.

Democracy NC Letter on Voter ID and Absentee Voting