Injunction imposed on one element of new law



(The Center Square) – An injunction issued Sunday by a federal judge does not impact parts of a new North Carolina law making Election Day the last to receive absentee ballots or change prevention of special interest money funding election offices.

Judge Thomas Schroeder, on the bench in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, denied those requests from the Democratic National Committee, the state Democratic Party and others. He did find, in a 94-page order, a problem for a voter who registers and votes on the same day and has a ballot removed after only one mailed notice goes undeliverable to the person’s address.

Previously, the law was two such notices.

Schroeder wrote the one chance is a “substantial burden on same-day registrants who cast a ballot.” He said there is risk of “being erroneously disenfranchised by failing address verification due to governmental error, rather than factors related to their eligibility to vote, without any notice and opportunity to be heard.”

Reps. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, and Grey Mills, R-Iredell, said in a joint statement the efforts were underway alongside the state Board of Elections “to ensure that the entire bill is in effect before the primary and general elections this year.”

The primaries this year are March 5. Absentee early voting by mail started Friday, 46 days before Super Tuesday; the voter registration deadline is Feb. 9; and in-person with same-day registration available begins Feb. 15.

North Carolina voter registration is open year-round, with deadlines just ahead of elections. With Democratic majorities of 31-19 in the Senate and 68-52 in the House in 2007, lawmakers passed and enacted same-day registration during the early voting period. A year later, Barack Obama joined Jimmy Carter (1976) as the only Democrats to win the state in presidential elections since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

There hasn’t been another since in a state whose more than 7.4 million voters are 36.7% unaffiliated, 32.5% Democrats and 30% Republicans. On the day Obama won, the more than 6.2 million registered voters were 45.8% Democrats, 31.9% Republicans and 22.2% unaffiliated.

In the 2010 midterms, Republicans swept into control of both chambers at the same time for the first time since Reconstruction 140 years earlier. They haven’t lost it since. The governor’s mansion has had one Republican in that time, from 2013-16 on Pat McCrory’s 2012 win.

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