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WCNC Charlotte’s Jeremy Markovich hit the actual streets yesterday to see what the contentious decision by Watauga County Board of Elections to condense Boone’s three voting precincts into one will mean for Boone voters.

Appalachian State University students will face 17 minute walk from campus, on roads with no shoulder or sidewalks in places.

The 9,340 voters assigned to the precinct — now the third largest in the state — will be fighting over 28 parking spaces on Election Day, no doubt.

Click here to watch Markovich’s report, or watch below.

Voting rightsIt’s only August, but this is still a busy time when it comes to North Carolina elections. In accordance with state law, county boards of elections across the state are meeting today to appoint precinct judges for the upcoming local elections.

But what else will they do?

Will some counties look to close early voting sites located on college campuses? Indeed that is already happening is some parts of the state. 

Within a week of Governor Pat McCrory signing the new monster elections bill into law, several counties started taking unprecedented steps to make voting harder for all college students.

Last Monday, the Watauga County board of elections voted to eliminate the early voting site that had been located at Appalachian State University’s student center.

The following day, on the other end of the state, the board of elections in Pasquotank County went a step further in ruling Elizabeth City State University students may not run for local office and possibly will be barred from voting in future local elections.

And last Friday, the chair of the Forsyth County board of elections indicated his desire to have the board shut down the early voting polling site located at Winston Salem State University. 

So, who’s next?   Read More

From Democracy NC’s August 5 link of the day:

“Gov. Pat McCrory is expected to sign the monster anti-voting bill any day now. H-589 began in the state House as a photo ID bill but in the final days of the session, the state Senate rolled out a harsher version of the ID requirement, plus 40+ new provisions, including dozens that had never been discussed in a legislative committee. The new bill raises contribution limits, kills the Stand By Your Ad law, allows secret electioneering spending by outside groups, ends the pre-registration program for teenagers and much more. Democracy North Carolina has a front-and-back handout that describes the provisions of the soon-to-be new law. Most of the provisions become effective on January 1, 2014, except the photo ID requirement takes effect with the 2016 elections. Everyone expects the state NAACP and others to challenge the law in court, and so it shall be.”

Click here to read a two-page summary entitled: “Monster Law: More money, Less Voting.” 

mcblog2In a lengthy and, at times, awkward and disjointed press conference, Gov. Pat McCrory said today that he would sign House Bill 589 — the controversial bill to alter state voting and elections laws. The bill, which was originally about imposing new voter ID requirements but morphed this week into an omnibus 57 page proposal to restrict voting in numerous ways, was passed by the House late last night  and will be presented to the Governor on Monday.

What was perhaps the saddest and most illuminating moment of the press conference, however, came when a reporter asked the Governor about some of the less-thoroughly-publicized portions of the bill. After testily dismissing a question about a provision on lobbyist “bundling” of campaign contributions because the reporter noted that it had been spurred by allegations against the Governor’s former law firm and erroneously saying that North Carolinians can register to vote “online,” McCrory addressed a question about the bill’s language to do away with the current successful program to pre-register 16 and 17 year olds. Here’s what the Guv said:

“I don’t know enough…I’m sorry, I haven’t seen that part of the bill.”

Got that? Governor McCrory has already decided to sign a bill — one of the most important and dangerous bills to come down the pike in years — and he is not even aware of one of the more controversial provisions — a provision that was debated at length this week multiple times!

C’mon Guv: We know you’re still relatively new to this job, but the least you could do is spend a little time with staff preparing for these press events and maybe even reading the bills you’re defending to the media and the public!

In case you missed it, the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research, a middle-of -the-road group known for conducting painstaking, in-depth research has issued a scathing analysis of the legislation pending in the state Senate to restrict voting.

Here is the special report the group emailed out last night:

Last Minute Changes to HB 589 Would Undermine Gains Made To N.C. Voter Turnout

Summary: Tonight, the N.C. Senate passed a Committee Substitute on 2nd reading for House Bill 589 that adds at least 7 new election law provisions to the bill, which originally was solely a voter photo ID bill.  The changes will reduce the number of days in the early voting period and end same-day voter registration.  The Center does not take a position on requiring a photo ID in order to vote because we have not done research on the issue.  However, the Center opposes the additional election law provisions because, as we found in our research in 1991 and 2003, early voting and same-day registration have worked to increase voter turnout and civic participation, because there is public support for these measures, and because the legislative process used to tack these provisions onto a moving bill is bad process and one we have criticized in additional reports over a 20-year period. Read More