Elections law bill would make notable changes, create bipartisan study of voting system

Elaina Athans Image
Tuesday, June 20, 2023
Elections overhaul bill would create bipartisan study of voting system
NC Senate Bill 747 would make significant changes to how people vote in North Carolina and opponents of the proposal are alarmed.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A bill that moved through a Senate committee meeting could bring major changes to how people vote in North Carolina.

Some critics said they feel Senate Bill 747 will have a disastrous impact on democracy and that it is meant to suppress voting. Co-sponsor Sen. Warren Daniel, a Republican, said it will strengthen the voting system.

"It's the jumbo jet of election integrity," Daniel said.

El Pueblo Policy Organizer Bryanna Garcia sees it differently.

"We're just seeing these different tactics that they're trying to pass just so that our voices can be silenced," Garcia said.

One of the potential changes is a two-step verification process for signatures.

The bill would also shift the deadline for mail-in and absentee ballots from three days after Election Day to 7:30 pm on Election Day.

The legislation additionally would require a study looking into replacing the statewide voter registration system.

A bipartisan commission is in the process of being formed. The NC Network for Fair, Safe & Secure Elections, in partnership with Catawba College, will be looking into North Carolina's voting system.

It's being led by former Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, a Democrat, and former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr, a Republican.

The two have already met with citizens in all 14 of North Carolina's congressional districts.

ALSO SEE: SB 749 would restructure Board of Elections

"We want to have reasonable and reasoned conversations about why are these changes being implemented if any are, what does it mean for election fairness and safety, what does it mean for voters and their access," said Roberts.

Orr added: "You can't keep adding responsibilities and not provide the staffing and funding," said Orr. "You had Board of Elections directors retiring or quitting simply because of the pressures and controversies. You can't have a great election if you don't have a great election system."

The Commission will officially launch in October and will work through the 2024 election cycle.