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Worse-than-imagined voter suppression bill emerges

Just when you thought the 2013 session of the North Carolina General Assembly had hit rock bottom, it’s about to get a hell of a lot worse. Click here to see the worse-than-anyone-would-have-ever-imagined voter suppression bill that has emerged in the state Senate. The new 57 page proposal will be heard this afternoon at 2:00 pm in the Senate Rules Committee.

According to good government advocates who have gotten a chance to examine the proposal after obtaining a copy last night, the bill includes dozens of disastrous provisions including:

  • no more pre-registration for 16 & 17 year olds
  • no more paid voter registration drives
  • elimination of same day voter registration
  • voter can be challenged by any registered voter of the county rather than the precinct
  • a week sliced off Early Voting
  • elimination of straight party ticket voting
  • moves presidential primary to first Tuesday after SC– if SC holds its primary before March 15
  • calls for a study (rather than a mandate) of electronic candidate filing
  • increases the maximum campaign contribution to 5K
  • weakens disclosure requirements for “incependent expenditure” committees
  • authorizes vigilante poll observers, lots of them, with expanded range of interference (Section 11.1)
  • expands the scope of who may examine registration records and challenge voters (Sections 20.1 and 20.2)
  • repeals out-of-precinct voting (Part 49)
  • repeals mandate for high-school registration drives (Section 19.1)
  • eliminates flexibility in opening EV sites at different hours within a county (Section 25.1)
  • makes it more difficult to add satellite polling sites for elderly or voters with disabilities (Section 26.1)
  • changes what is the official ballot, particularly for DRE machines (Part 30)
  • limits who can assist a voter adjudicated to be incompetent by court (Part 34)
  • repeals three public financing programs (Part 38)
  • in addition to raising contribution limits to $5,000, the limit will continue to increase every two years with the Consumer Price Index from Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Section 42.2)
  • a lobbyist who is also PAC official will not be able to distribute the PAC’s donations (Part 47)
  • repeals disclosure requirements under Candidate Specific Communications (Part 48)

 All in all, there’s a certain evil symmetry to the proposal; after having spent months passing scores of regressive and destructive proposals into law, state leaders are now, like thieves covering their tracks, doing everything in their power to make sure they’re not caught or punished for their actions. Truly remarkable.

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