The North Carolina Senate is proposing a controversial measure aimed at boosting confidence in elections

  • North Carolina Senate Republicans have introduced a sweeping ballot measure that includes provisions previously vetoed by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.
  • The proposed legislation aims to bring about administrative changes that supporters claim will boost confidence in election results.
  • Mitchell County State Senator Ralph Hise told reporters they hope this will restore confidence in the voting process.

Republicans in the North Carolina Senate on Thursday proposed a mass election measure that includes provisions that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has successfully vetoed in previous years, as well as other administrative changes that proponents claim will increase confidence in the election results will strengthen.

The bill, which could face a hearing in committee next week, has been in the works for weeks, with input from advocacy groups and former election officials, among others, a supporter of the bill said.

Among the rejected items, which will be reconsidered in the combined bill, are those that would no longer accept the acceptance of certain absentee ballots received after Election Day, create a process to keep more non-US citizens off the voter rolls, and prohibit the use of private funds to conduct elections.

“We hope this will restore some confidence in their election process among many citizens,” Mitchell County State Senator Ralph Hise told reporters Thursday.

Critics call the duplicate measures from previous years a method by Republicans to discourage voting in a severely divided state.


“Republic legislators want to protect their power, not our votes,” Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue, of Wake County, and House Minority Leader Robert Reives, of Chatham County, said in a prepared statement.

The measure could withstand political opposition from Cooper this year as Republicans have veto-proof majorities in both houses for the first time since 2018.

A previously denied provision would remove the state’s three-day grace period after an election for a mail-in ballot to arrive for counting. Instead, all ballots would have to be submitted to a county polling station, either by mail or in person, before 7:30 p.m. on election day when polling stations close statewide.

“Setting Election Day as the official deadline removes confusion and skepticism from the minds of voters,” another supporter of the bill, Paul Newton, Cabarrus County Senate Majority Leader, said in a statement.

Republicans would also try again to ban election commissions and county officials from accepting private funds to conduct elections. Millions of dollars have flowed into North Carolina from outside groups to conduct the 2020 election, particularly to address challenges related to COVID-19.

Graphic from North Carolina Fox News

Republicans in the North Carolina Senate have proposed a controversial ballot measure aimed at boosting confidence in election results.

Republicans argue that the outside donations to government agencies create the impression of undue influence.

And another denied provision would require North Carolina courts to provide election officials with information that potential jurors are being disqualified because they are not US citizens. Ultimately, they would be removed from the electoral rolls. Cooper said in his 2019 veto message that doing so would increase the risk that legitimate citizens would be denied the right to vote based on poor jury-pardon information.

The measure also includes a number of other provisions, including a requirement that anyone registering to vote at an early in-person voting venue must cast a provisional ballot, which can be more easily challenged after an election.

The vote would only be tabulated if the voter’s address is verified through the current postal process or if the person provides appropriate identification by the day of the election.

The measure would also allow the public to view mail-in ballots at district election committee meetings in the weeks leading up to an election, where members decide whether to count ballots received.


The bill comes as the state elections commission prepares to implement a voter-by-photo identification law, upheld by the state Supreme Court in April, in time for the municipal elections this fall.

Hise said Thursday that he met with Cleta Mitchell, an attorney who advised former President Donald Trump in his fight to have the 2020 election overturned, as lawmakers considered the contents of the bill.

Hise said Mitchell, who lives in North Carolina, had raised concerns about the state’s electoral administration but diminished her influence: “We listened and felt we had addressed what we needed to address in the bill.”

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