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Memo to Elections Officials Shows Strict Voter Law’s Impact in 2014

More than 1.7 million North Carolinians cast ballots on November 4, 2014, and most of them had a pleasant voting experience, according to an Exit Survey we conducted with the help of 400 volunteers at 120 precincts in over three dozen counties.

Voters said precinct officials were generally helpful and courteous, and in most cases they acted quickly to resolve problems and protect the integrity of a fair, secure and accessible election process.

However, our November 25, 2014 preliminary report about ā€œsilenced votersā€ called attention to situations that discouraged voter participation, damaged the integrity of the process, and threaten to have larger consequences in a presidential election if not addressed.

Democracy NC Memo on 2014 Voter Turnout

Check out our 2015 memo to the N.C. State Board of Elections regarding the impact of NC's Strict Voter Law on turnout.

The main problem areas included:

  • Long lines and wait times made worse by the loss of straight-ticket voting and out-of-precinct voting;
  • Lack of preparation with more staff, machines, and voting booths;
  • Inconsistent distribution of provisional ballots, with wide variations between counties and even among precincts in a county; Issues related to inadequate parking, traffic control, poor signage and poor lighting; Inadequate access and long waits for curbside voters; and
  • Failure to ask each voter, as required by H-589, if the voter possesses one of the IDs that will be required for voters inside polls beginning in 2016.

In addition to these Election Day issues, our preliminary report said same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting allowed over 27,000 voters to participate in the 2010 election, but those two policies were repealed by H-589. We concluded that an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 voters were essentially silenced by the combination of (1) Election Day problems, (2) repeal of sameday registration, and (3) repeal of out-of-precinct voting. This memo provides more details in each of those areas.