Raleigh, NC – After the progressive Left in North Carolina prevailed in their lawsuit against the State of North Carolina in regards to election reforms passed in 2013, you probably thought the battle over voting is finished.
In an article written by Colin Campbell for the News & Observer detailing the process by the county boards of elections to determine early voting sites and schedules, Campbell goes to the mainstream media’s darling on liberal election policy, Bob Hall.
One of the results of this latest court battle was re-instituting an additional seven days of in-person early voting (one-stop voting), bringing the total days of one-stop voting days now to 17 up from 10.
Hall is director and lobbyist for Democracy NC, a liberal advocacy group that specializes in community organizing. Hall is also the architect of North Carolina’s most liberal election laws and is the behind-the-scenes collaborator who long has been the go-between for liberal activist groups, liberal legislators and the State Board of Elections (SBE).
In his latest article, Campbell writes, “Hall said some of the schedules could be challenged in court if the state board upholds plans that limit minority voting by dropping Sunday voting or polling sites in African-American communities.” Note the threat of lawsuits. Lawsuits are all that liberals have left in North Carolina politics. They have essentially been voted out of the majority in the legislature, Council of State seats and Congress since 2010. Unfortunately, the mere threat of lawsuits may be enough to sway the SBE in siding with the minority on any given local board of elections.
It’s important to note that according to North Carolina law, it is the local boards’ responsibility to choose one-stop sites and their schedules. Unfortunately, and purposefully, the local boards’ early voting plans must be approved by a unanimous vote; if not, the SBE will make the final decision. In fact, the SBE will be meeting today (Thursday, Sept. 8) to decide on up to 33 county’s plans.
While Bob Hall speaks of Sunday voting as if it is a standard and statutorily recognized voting process, it is not and never has been. Sunday voting has always been a possibility if a county board votes to open early voting sites on Sundays. Interestingly enough, the first Sunday voting occurred in 2008, the same time same day registration (SDR) was implemented. You might well live in a county whose board doesn’t think they need Sunday voting to accommodate all the county’s voters. According to the N&O article, 75 out of North Carolina’s 100 counties have never opened a site on Sunday.
You see, Hall doesn’t like the fact that nine counties that have offered Sunday voting in the past and have decided that, now that they will be required to add seven days to their one-stop window (from 10 to 17), that was enough and didn’t see a need to open voting on a Sunday.
So why is Sunday voting so important to the liberal Left?
Democracy NC and the groups that sued the state over election reform – the ACLU, NAACP, League of Women Voters and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, etc. – work to get-out-the-vote (GOTV) in the communities they use most often. Many of the groups receive millions of dollars from foundations to turn out targeted groups, mostly minorities. They devised a scheme called “Souls to the Polls” because it’s easy for them and they will get the most bang for their GOTV buck by transporting a voting bloc that has traditionally voted for Democrats from their churches on Sunday to an early voting site. As a result, leftist organizations have increased the number of minorities using early voting and ultimately used that fact as a weapon against the state, claiming that since minority voters “choose” to vote early, any change in the process is targeting them because of race. That’s a win-win for the radical Left.
Campbell ends his piece with another Hall threat: “The state board has to weigh the reality that the 4th Circuit is looking at what they’re doing.” Hall’s threat on behalf of the federal court of appeals unfortunately may go a long way to sway the SBE members’ decisions today.
While Hall and his other left-wing comrades will call the move a partisan foul if the Republican majority decides against his views, it’s the Democrats on the SBE who have shown their partisan bias in the last four years. They are the ones that have made decisions regarding early voting sites (always toward the liberal agenda), often times without considering facts.
Most recently Joshua Malcolm, one of the two Democrats appointed by the governor to the five-member SBOE, decided that he would unilaterally deny any changes to one-stop hours requested by the local boards of election. He made this decision even before the meeting to hear requests from the local boards!
The move by Malcolm is not unprecedented. In 2014 the other Democrat on the SBE did essentially the same thing. Maja Kricker, former chairman of the Chatham County Board of Elections, devised a set of rules that counties seeking to reduce their early voting hours had to comply with in order for her to vote in favor of their plans. Since the vote had to be unanimous, her “no” vote would ultimately deny any county requesting a variance.
So, this little story about the Democrat board members’ behavior on the SBE brings us to what the battle is now. Bob Hall wants more: He not only wanted (and got) elections to go back to the way they were before the 2013 legislation was enacted – with no safeguards, no voter ID, open registration with no way to verify eligible voters, and open precincts adding to general chaos, but he also wants what he liked about the law he worked to defeat – a requirement that local boards offer the same number of hours they did in 2012, whether they need them or not. And, as to “minority voting sites,” there should be no such thing. Voting sites should be made as accessible as practically possible to all voters no matter what color, gender or age.
One-Stop Site Numbers (from the N&O):
- 23 counties proposed cutting hours from 2012
- 70 counties proposed increasing hours from 2012
- 9 counties with Sunday voting in 2012 voted to drop it
- 4 counties that didn’t have Sunday voting in 2012 voted to add Sunday hours
- 12 counties kept Sunday voting from 2012
- 75 counties haven’t offered Sunday voting
- 1,800 written comments received by the SBE on early voting
This last battle over election reform is between, on one side, liberal groups (including the NAACP-NC, Southern Coalition for Social Justice, ACLU and the League of Women of Voters) who believe that everyone (regardless of eligibility and jurisdictional assignment) should be able to vote when and wherever they choose, and, on the other side, conservatives who believe that security in the form of voter photo ID and eliminating dangerous practices such as same day registration are reasonable and would ensure accuracy and integrity in our elections.
It’s not enough that the Left prevailed in the lawsuit. It’s never enough for them. In fact, according to their radical activist playbook, this is the perfect time to push for more of their radical agenda.
So how much time do North Carolinians have to vote in this year’s presidential election? Voting by mail has already commenced – 60 days before Election Day. That means any registered voter may now request a ballot to be mailed to him or her – wherever they are. In-person early voting (one-stop) begins the third Thursday before Election Day. That means 17 days of voting at a site in the county where the voter resides and is registered to vote. And then there’s the last day to vote – once called Election Day. Election Day offers 13 hours of voting at a voter’s assigned precinct. Unless, now that a key element of the election reform has been blocked by federal judges, the voter decides not to go to his/her home precinct and wants to just stop by any precinct in the county. In that case the voter will be given a ballot, but this is not a smart choice because it is very possible that, because of jurisdictional assignments, some of the voter’s votes may not count.
Do you have enough time to vote, or do you feel disenfranchised because your county does not have Sunday voting?