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Voting rights advocates to Cooper: Veto bill that would remove non-citizens from voter rolls

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Voting rights advocates are urging Gov. Roy Cooper to veto a bill that tasks the State Board of Elections to compare voter and juror information to remove non-citizens from the voter rolls.

Senate Bill 250 passed the House with 59-51 vote and the Senate with a 29-21 vote along party lines earlier this week. The measure would remove North Carolinians from voter rolls if they are disqualified from jury service due to being determined a non-citizen.

“SB250 is a needless and wasteful attempt to force election officials to use their limited resources for identifying non-citizens on the voting rolls by using records of excusal or disqualification from jury duty,” said Democracy North Carolina Executive Director Tomas Lopez. “The use of this data would not reliably help maintain the voter rolls, and could open the door for the harassment of those named — including eligible, naturalized citizen voters.”

The voting rights organization sent a letter to Cooper asking him to veto the measure and is asking its supporters to do the same.

The bill just a few weeks after Democracy NC released its report “Emerging Electorate: Latinx Voters in North Carolina,” showing how extensively Latinx voters — who could be impacted by this bill — are poised to play an important role in the state’s 2019 and 2020 elections.

“It’s time for Gov. Cooper to veto [this bill] and stop this distressing attack on North Carolinians,” Lopez said.

Similarly, the North Carolina Justice Center called the measure unnecessary and discriminatory and noted that it will cause harm to immigrant communities in North Carolina.

The non-profit — which is NC Policy Watch’s parent organization — urged an immediate veto of SB 250. If enacted, it stated in a news release, it could lead to the disenfranchisement of recently naturalized citizens and reveal the immigration status of non-U.S. citizens who are legal permanent residents or have protected status, putting their safety at risk.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a serious increase in violent acts around the country, fueled by hate and ignorance, against communities because of their race, perceived immigration status, and religion,” said Executive Director Rick Glazier. “The state should not facilitate the discrimination and abuse of vulnerable populations with unnecessary provisions in a bill unrelated to the legislation’s stated goal.”

The bill is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature or veto.

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