Same-Day Voter Registration

Same-Day Voter Registration (SB 195/HB 91)

This is a synopsis I put together for my fellow Cumberland County Dems, but obviously it's an issue that affects all of us (and which is of particular importance to the state Young Dems):

News is spreading that Same-Day Registration (SDR), which passed the NC House on March 29, may not be brought to a vote in the Senate because of Sen. Tony Rand.

As Cumberland County Democrats, we need to let Sen. Rand know the importance of this bill to Democrats and to all North Carolinians. (It should be noted that the Senate sponsor of the bill is our own Sen. Larry Shaw)

The facts:

Only six states in the country have lower voter turnout rates than North Carolina. More than half the adults in our state do not vote, even in the presidential election years. Our average voter turnout is 47.8% (compare that to an 85% turnout rate this past week during France's presidential election ... aren't we supposed to be the home of democracy and patriotism??). About one million voting-age citizens in this state are not even registered, and 400,000 of those are between the ages of 18 and 25. NC has one of the worst youth voter turnout rates. In 2004, only 38% of 18-24 yrs. olds voted, compared to 56% of young voters in states w/ SDR.

The proposed bill only allows SDR during the One-Stop, Early Voting period that extends from 19 days to 3 days before Election Day. This gives times for the verification process to be completed before the official canvass day (vote count). This bill is not for registration on Election Day.

SDR is used by six other states (ID, ME, MN, NH, WI, and WY). In 2004, 74% of all eligible adults in these states voted compared to 60% of eligible adults in other states without SDR.

This bill has been approved by the State Board of Elections. Here are some quotes from their Executive Director, Gary Bartlett:

“In my view, the legislation provides procedures along w/ current safeguards that meet this standard and that do not cause an administrative burden.”

“The states that use Same-Day Registration have learned that SDR procedures simplify the process and eliminate the need for a portion of provisional ballots.”

(Full text of letter:

Other organizations that support SDR, that have more information:

League of Women Voters of North Carolina (Op-Ed:
Common Cause
NC Coalition for Same-Day Registration
Democracy North Carolina

There are no real concerns about fraud or mistakes in voting by the State Board of Elections or from the states that use SDR. SDR not only encourages voting, as we should in our democracy, but also can help Democrats (see analysis here:

Please contact Sen. Rand and/or write a letter to the editor expressing your support for SDR.

Sen. Rand's contact info in Raleigh:

Phone: (919) 733-9892
Mailing Address: 300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 300-C
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925

(frontpaged by Anglico)


It sounds like Tony Rand has had a brain transplant

I recall him as being a decent person with an interest in the common good. But between this and his baffling position on insurance rates, it looks like he's been taken over by the Dark Side.

What the hell is going on here? What could his motivation possibly be to stand against more participation in voting? Does anyone have a clue about this?


What is up with Tony Rand? He sure has been spending time right of center lately. I don't mind Dems voting outside the Dem line every now and then, but he sure has been contrary of late.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Great minds

Somebody is having undue influence on Mr. Rand, but it's hard to imagine who. Maybe he wants his legacy to be one of being an anti-democratic corporatist?

Or maybe this story is wrong?

Where is Basnight on this issue? Where is the NCDP on this issue?

Why the f*ck are we playing whack-a-mole all the damn time?

The NCDP on the issue

Jerry Meek wrote a letter in support of Same Day. A more visible role promoting it would be counter-productive.

The GOP's usual game plan is to try to suppress as many voters as possible, if they see the party organization beating the drum for this it gives them cover for further voter suppression measures. We want this to be about doing the right thing, not about Blue Team Vs. Read Team. All the more so since doing the right thing typically benefits Blue Team.

I am confident that we will get SDR, but please don't take my word for it.


Now you need to get Jerry to support same day voter registration at our own county conventions. I had my quorum a few days before the convention, but it wasn't by that magical date, so I wasn't allowed to vote. Now, I didn't attend the convention thinking I would get to vote. I'm just saying....kinda silly to back same day when you can't even do it within your own party.

I called 3 meetings. For the final one I went door-to-door and hand delivered invitations. There were 47 invitations handed out (b/c that was all I could get done in time) inviting about 64 Democrats to attend. I got my five, but no more. Doesn't it seem sad to you that I worked that hard to get a quorum and then didn't get to vote?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

it does seem sad

and I know that we want to make the party structure more accessible. That being said, I'm sure the current structure isn't just arbitrary, so there must be some sort of reason it is set up the way it is. That doesn't mean there's not a better reason to do it another way. Ah, I'm blathering on and on; basically what I'm saying is that I don't the answer to your question.

You should ask Jerry yourself, and cc me too please.
Jerry: jmeek
Jerimee: jrichir
Both at

hehe.....I know there are bylaws in place

My point simply is we should be able to have same-day precinct registration if all paperwork is in hand at the convention. With today's technology, there really is no reason our party can't take the lead on this.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

ACORN in support of SDR

ACORN has also been working to build public and political support for SDR. The public support is there, but can we turn it into political? Please call Rand; we need his support or this bill will die.

Phone: (919) 733-9892

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Not against SDR, but

I don't share the fears that some have about SDR and I think generally we should strive to make voting and registering as easy as possible.

However, I have no tolerance or sympathy for those who don't bother to vote or even register. If the above numbers are correct, there are 600,000 people in NC over 25 who are not registered to vote. If over 25 and unless you are in a coma, I don't care how busy/rich/poor/isloated/whatever you are; you are a lame ass if you aren't at least registered. I won't shed one tear of sympathy if someone drags you to the polls on election day only to find you are not registered. Even if you were registered and got dropped, it's because you didn't bother to vote for several years and also didn't tell them you moved.

Almost the same goes for the 400,000 25 and under. How many not registered also don't have driver's licenses? I bet not many.

it's not about sympathy, it's about making voting hassle free

We shouldn't set up barriers to voting. If you want to get a shotgun you have to wait 15 minutes, if you want a handgun I think you have to wait a day. Citizens shouldn't have to wait 30 or 25 days to be trusted with a vote.

As far as sympathy goes, think about this way: everyday you get 16 to 20 hours to do whatever you are going to do that day. There are some god-awful scary amount of billions of marketing dollars spent on encouraging you to do any and every thing but be politically active. Think outside the bun, drive a Ford, what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas, etc. etc. How many dollars are spent on encouraging people to register to vote?

If you live in the city there is a tiny chance the League of Women Voters or ACORN will hit you. If you don't live in the city, there is almost no chance that you will be exposed to any significant amount of information about voting.

I'm just going to weigh in

in support of Jerimee here.

This issue is not about red versus blue. It's about making our democratic system more accessible and inclusive.

Democrats have always stood for making voting easier and for bringing more people into the process. This is about a ridiculous barrier to inclusion in a day and age when technology allows follow-up confirmation of a registrant's data very quickly.

A couple weeks ago Jerry Meek sent a letter strongly supporting this bill to every Democratic state senator. He pointed out that not only is this the right thing to do, this issue was also passed with extremely strong support at the 2006 NC Democratic convention.

I borrowed a couple quotes from Jerry's letter to Democratic state senators in a post I put up a few weeks ago on the 10th district blog:

I also agree with Jerimee, though, that touting this as a red vs. blue issue is probably not an appropriate strategy.

Good Example...

Someone moves from one city to another city within NC.

Two weeks before the election, that person gets fired up to vote...but realizes that his/her registration is 100 miles away.

They call the Board of Elections, and they tell him that he missed the 30 day cut-off deadline, and will have to drive home to vote.

That person decides that the only way to make back to their old county to vote would be to leave after work, or to show up to work late. They may have an hourly job, or it may be salary...but they can't take anymore time off work.

This type of thing never happens does it? job transfers? moving to a county with a growing job market?

And then, theoretically, their vote could be challenged.

If someone wanted to be a jerk about it. Because they hadn't lived in that district during the 30 days before the election.
The Den
My darling girl, when will you understand that 'normal' isn't necessarily a virtue. It rather denotes a lack of courage." - Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic