The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, North Carolina Democratic Party, and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee filed a lawsuit to overturn early voting restrictions in North Carolina that would prevent North Carolinians from casting their ballots the Saturday before Election Day, which was the busiest day of early voting in 2018.
The restrictions are a part of Senate Bill 325, which would for the first time in decades prohibit early voting the weekend before Election Day. Early voting is popular among voters, particularly African American North Carolinians and registered Democrats who have increasingly participated in early voting — particularly the weekend before Election Day.
Another portion of SB 325 enacted last year mandated uniformity across early voting sites instead of leaving it to counties’ discretion. The policy made it more expensive to operate early voting sites so the number of locations and hours they operated were reduced in the 2018 general election, making it harder for voters to cast their ballots.
“With control of everything from the White House and Congress to the Governor’s mansion and the General Assembly on the ballot next year, it is vital that every voter can freely and easily make their voice heard,” North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Wayne Goodwin said. “North Carolina Democrats are committed to lowering hurdles to the ballot box, not erecting new ones, and we will never waver from our commitment to make voting easier and more accessible for North Carolina families.”
“We all have an obligation to ensure Americans can cast their ballot fairly and that it will be counted, and we cannot allow partisan efforts to make it harder to vote,” said DSCC Chair Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. “We are committed to protecting the early vote program so that North Carolinians may exercise their rights without unfair obstacles.”
“Every American’s right to vote is sacred and I am committed to ensuring more people across our country can freely access that right and have their voices heard,” said DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos. “I am proud to stand up for North Carolinians’ ability to vote early, and I look forward to the day where access to the ballot isn’t treated as a partisan issue, but rather a universal American value.”
North Carolina enacted “no excuse” early voting in 1999, when the state was ranked 43rd for voter participation. In 2012, after early voting and a series of other measures steadily expanded access, the state jumped to 11th in the nation.
Read the complaint here.
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