Parsing the changes to Absentee voting by mail in NC


It's been made easier, but it's still complex:

You can now request an absentee ballot via e-mail or fax with an electronic signature. And starting in June, you only need one witness to fill out a ballot.

"Making sure elections are safe and secure is more important than ever during this pandemic, and this funding is crucial to that effort," Cooper said in a press release Friday. The state will receive over $10 million in funding from the federal government to prepare for the effects of coronavirus on the 2020 election; $424,000 of that will be spent creating a ballot request website.

You need to e-mail or fax that request to your county board of election (as opposed to state website), and you still have to use the proper request form, and it doesn't appear that you can fill it out electronically (save document and make changes). So you'll need to print it out, fill it out, and then scan it (or fax it) as an image. That is until the above-mentioned "ballot request website" becomes operational. But I wouldn't hold your breath and wait for that this year; NC is notorious for taking a long time in developing new platforms such as this. And now to dispel the rumor of Roy Cooper signing Voter ID back into law:

Fortunately, the state's Republican-backed voter ID law remains in appeal limbo after being blocked by the courts for targeting, "African American voters with almost surgical precision." That means absentee voters won't have to attach a copy of their ID to ballots unless an appeal is successful.

The election bill the Governor just signed merely amended the previous law (that is on hold) which added an additional form of acceptable ID. All that Voter ID wording is present in this new bill because that's how amendments are done. Keep an eye out for phrases like, "reads as rewritten," with strikes or underlines to show what has changed. While it may help the GOP in its court case, that additional form of acceptable ID was only part of the reason the law was placed on hold. And a Veto would have blocked needed changes like the witness requirement:

Prior laws required absentee requests be mailed to the county Board of Elections, a delay that could potentially keep ballots from making it to voters—especially if voters filled out the first one incorrectly and had to send a second request. It was also required that two witnesses be there when a voter filled out an absentee ballot, despite the fact that the average North Carolina household has less than three people.

Going from two witnesses to one may seem inconsequential, but it's a pretty big deal. Been there, lost the t-shirt. As always, my interpretation of this change in the law may be off a little (or a lot), so please chime in if that is the case. We need every single vote we can get.



Changes at the Indy

Don't know if it will be "big" changes, time will tell. Jeffrey Billman has been fired as Editor-In-Chief for quashing a story about sexual harassment at a posh restaurant in Raleigh. Two former contributing journalists that I trust have said this is a good thing, and I'm apt to take their word for it. Not sure if it''s related, but some of the Indy's recent campaign endorsements have not aged well, to say the least.

I used to make a pit-stop at the Indy if not every day, then a few times a week, in my morning newsgathering. I stopped doing that a few years ago, and usually only hop a link if somebody recommends it. But I'm interested to see what new leadership will do, so I will be watching.