Commentary

GOP leaders: Time for another election law rewrite, but not for gun safety legislation

It’s unclear when the endless 2019 state legislative session will ever end, but we’ve already been told by GOP leaders that there just isn’t enough time, by golly, to give adequate consideration to a pair of common sense gun safety proposals that have been buried in committee for six months.

Now, however, we learn there’s apparently adequate time to take up a new election law rewrite that wasn’t even unveiled until yesterday. As WRAL.com reports:

House leadership rolled out a wide-ranging election bill Thursday to tinker with early voting hours, let counties that use touchscreen voting machines keep doing so and tighten absentee ballot rules in response to last year’s 9th Congressional District scandal.

Among other things, Senate Bill 683 would start a pilot project to cover postage on absentee ballots so that voters wouldn’t have to buy stamps. There are other measures meant to keep campaigns from trying to collect absentee ballots en masse, including a rule requiring prohibiting outside groups from returning ballot request forms.

Those forms would also change every election so groups couldn’t simply photocopy old ones and submit fraudulent requests.

The 12-page bill has been under construction for some time, and it has a ways to go to become law. Rep.

David Lewis, R-Harnett, a House leader on election issues, said in a statement that he looks forward to working with the Senate to get the bill passed “in a timely manner.”

None of this is to say that there might not be some good ideas in the new election law bill. It is to say, however, that it remains a ridiculous and criminally negligent excuse to claim that there isn’t adequate time to consider the gun safety proposals. Heck, the 2019 legislative session may well continue for the rest of the year.

The bottom line: If there’s enough time to rewrite election laws, there’s more than enough time to respond to the national gun violence crisis. As more and more people across the state and nation have been saying to their elected officials in recent days: “Do something!”

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