It is important that we simultaneously protect current practices that help voters while advocating for more policies that expand access to the ballot box. The current pandemic is proving that we can enact bipartisan democracy reforms across our state.
Current laws grant voters critical flexibilities. Any eligible voter in North Carolina can participate in early voting. This means voters can go to their polling place before Election Day to cast a ballot, resulting in shorter lines and increased turnout. Additionally, residents who have not previously registered can register to vote at their polling place during the early voting period. For registered voters who prefer to vote by mail instead of traveling to a polling place, they do not have to provide an excuse to do so. They can simply complete an absentee ballot application.
Despite these democratic policies, some people are fighting to undermine the right to vote in North Carolina. For example, the state’s voter identification law was struck down in court, but a group of legislators is still trying to enforce the law. Research shows that voter ID laws disproportionately stop low-income voters, elderly voters, and voters of color from participating in elections. In a different lawsuit, a court concluded that North Carolina was unconstitutionally gerrymandered. The decision invalidated the congressional districts drawn by the state legislature because they were unfair to voters. Because the U.S. Census is taking place this year, advocates for an independent redistricting commission are building community power to make elections more democratic. If you haven’t completed your census yet do it today at http://my2020census.gov