Partisan Attacks Target Election Administration nationwide
Partisan attacks on election administrators are part of a national trend that has been happening in states across the country. Republican state legislatures in states like Arizona, Florida, & Georgia have limited or stripped election administrators’ authority to settle election lawsuits and/or respond in the event of emergency to ensure voters have access to the ballot.
A recent analysis found that 216 bills across the country have been introduced to allow state legislatures to politicize, criminalize, or interfere with the administration of elections. These bills have been introduced in at least 40 states, including nearly every southern state and all of North Carolina’s neighboring states of Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina.
These partisan bills are one part of a coordinated effort to attack election administrators in response to the Big Lie, accompanied by threats of violence and the spread of disinformation. These attacks have already led to an exodus of experienced election administrators across the country, dedicated civil servants who are vitally important to our democracy.
In North Carolina, state legislators have snuck anti-voter provisions into North Carolina’s 2021 budget.
Many of these provisions are in standalone anti-voter bills that Democracy NC opposed earlier this year. But because they failed to gain traction, legislators are hoping they can quietly pass them into law via the 427-page bill.
Senate Bill 105 Anti-Voter Provisions
SB 105 will make it harder for the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) and the Attorney General to settle lawsuits. The NC Speaker of the House and Senate Pro Temp will be allowed to intervene any time the government is involved in a lawsuit challenging state law — including election law. This will strip power from the state Board of Elections, and make them less responsive to the needs of voters. For example: In 2020, the NC Board of Elections settled a suit that allowed thousands of North Carolinians to vote by mail amidst significant mail delays.
SB 105 will strip the NC Board of Elections of their power to investigate elections. The state Board of Elections has a specific Investigations Division with qualified, experienced investigators whose sole priority is election law and campaign finance. This is part of a larger movement to strip power and funding from the State Board of Elections.
SB 105 will make it harder for the Governor to respond to emergencies. The governor’s ability to declare emergencies is crucial to ensuring elections run smoothly during elections, like with the Covid-19 precautions during the 2020 elections.
SB 105 will dedicate $5 million towards putting a racist voter ID law into action. North Carolina’s Voter ID law is currently being challenged in court — because of this, voters are NOT currently required to show ID. Wasting taxpayer dollars on a program that we do not currently need takes money away from actual needs, and will cause voter confusion.