Blueprint for a more democratic North Carolina


More than just bullet points:

The more than 20 state and national experts contributing to the report explore initiatives for North Carolina in six areas:

Improving voter registration and list maintenance;
Ensuring voting access and protecting voting rights;
Strengthening local election infrastructure;
Promoting fair redistricting and equal representation;
Heightening transparency and combating corruption;
Ensuring fair and impartial courts.

Looking at #2 & #3 in particular, the NC GOP seems to be doing the exact opposite. They are more concerned about adding vigilantes poll watchers to eyeball and intimidate voters than helping local election boards meet their needs, and now they are moving to block private donors from assisting those folks. Why? Because most of that private funding went to densely-populated areas where that money was needed the most, which just happened to also be heavily-Democratic areas. Let's dig into the report itself to look at list maintenance recommendations:

1.Don’t purge inactive voters. In every election, thousands of voters arrive at the polls to find that they’re no longer registered. In the November 2020 election, more than 5,000 North Carolinians cast a provisional ballot because they had been purged from voting rolls. And in general, the majority of provisional ballots aren’t counted by election officials.

Although federal law allows the practice, North Carolina shouldn’t revoke a voter’s registration based solely on inactivity and the failure to respond to a mailer. The risk of erroneous purges outweighs any benefit to the integrity of elections. Paul Smith of the Campaign Legal Center said that purging inactive voters based on returned mail is “both highly imperfect and entirely unnecessary as a mechanism for keeping voting rolls up to date.” North Carolina election officials can continue to remove voters from the rolls anytime they die or confirm an address change. These officials are informed of deaths and address changes through data provided by the U.S. Postal Service, state agencies, and election officials in other states.

2.Stop purges based on undeliverable mail. North Carolina should repeal a state law that opens the door for local election officials to get around the NVRA’s protections. The law allows officials to cancel a voter’s registration based solely on mail being returned as undeliverable.

In October 2016, weeks before a critical election, a few citizens filed “challenges” to the eligibility of dozens or thousands of voters, suggesting that they weren’t eligible to vote because they hadn’t updated their addresses. Election officials canceled the registration of thousands of voters. The vast majority of them were in Cumberland County, where the population is 40 percent Black, and resulted from challenges filed by one person, based on a mass mailing for which some mail was returned as “undeliverable.” A few days before the election, a federal judge called the process “insane” and ruled that it violated the NVRA’s ban on purges within 90 days of an election.

North Carolina law should be updated to explicitly bar this type of conduct. Legislators should repeal the law that allows for removal of a voters’ registration based solely on returned mail.

I have never understood purging voters because they skipped a couple of elections. And until somebody shows me in the Constitution where it says "use it or lose it," I will refuse to accept the practice as legitimate.



Hat-tip to Facing South

This is some really good work, and should be required reading for every legislator and election official.