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Curtailing early voting ‘downright un-American’

Many newspapers across the state have run articles this past weekend noting the steady stream of North Carolinians taking advantage of early voting ahead of the November 6th General Election.

The editorial board at the Winston-Salem Journal says this should be a strong signal to legislative leaders who repeatedly worked to limit early voting options in the last session. Here’s an excerpt of their editorial:

‘In response to the early-voting crush, the Democratic-controlled State Board of Elections last week called on local boards to either expand early-voting hours or sites. But given money constraints, few of the local boards will able to do much expansion. Most, like the Forsyth County one, will do the best with what they have through strategies such as putting more staff and equipment at the busiest sites.

Legislators should take note of this heavy volume, because there were attempts during the 2011-12 legislative sessions to reduce early voting options significantly, to cut the money to operate the sites and to limit the hours, all made under the pretense of saving state dollars.

Future efforts of that sort would be unpopular and downright un-American. A heavy turnout, regardless of which way voters go, is a good problem to have in a democracy.

Early voting allows all registered voters to get to the polls, not just those who can get free to do so on Election Day. It eliminates the excuse many have had, in the past, when they explained why they did not vote: “I was busy on Election Day.” It also eliminates the possibility that some freak event, like bad weather, would greatly reduce turnout.

We hope that the 2013 General Assembly finds even more ways to increase voter participation.’

You can read the full editorial here. And if you haven’t voted yet, early voting continues in North Carolina through Saturday, November 3rd.

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