North Carolina Governor Vetoes Voting Restrictions, Restores Saturday Voting
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a bill earlier this week that would have removed foreign citizens from voting rolls. At the same time, he signed into law a bill that restores early voting on the last Saturday before elections.
“Only citizens should be allowed to vote,” Cooper said in a written statement about his veto of state Senate Bill 250, also known as the Remove Foreign Citizens from Voting Rolls Act.
“But blocking legitimate voters from casting a ballot is a risk we cannot take when the law already prevents non-citizens from voting and has legitimate mechanisms to remove them from the rolls,” he said. “This legislation creates a high risk of voter harassment and intimidation and could discourage citizens from voting.”
In signing Senate Bill 683, the Combat Absentee Ballot Fraud Act, Cooper said Saturdays are “one of the most popular and convenient days to vote.”
“This will help reduce long lines on election day and make it easier for people to have their voices heard,” he added.
Under the new law the hours on the last Saturday will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Previously, last-Saturday voting had ended at 1 p.m. or at 5 p.m. if extended locally. Now it will end at 3 p.m. for all early voting sites in North Carolina.
The law also requires strict record keeping of all absentee ballot requests and returned ballots, with identification and confirmed voter registration of voters. And it makes absentee ballot fraud a criminal offense.
False statements and candidates witnessing absentee ballots of non-relatives would both be Class 1 misdemeanors. Selling or attempting to sell a completed ballot — and accepting payment for it — would be felonies. Destroying absentee ballots with the intent of obstructing a vote would also be a felony.
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