WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, June 1, North Carolina Republicans introduced Senate Bill 747, an election bill that restricts aspects of the voting process.
The bill was introduced on the heels of reporting from WRAL, a local North Carolina outlet, that state lawmakers were drafting legislation with input from the Election Integrity Network, a right-wing organization run by Cleta Mitchell, who led former President Donald Trump’s legal effort to overturn the 2020 election results. Mitchell stated she did not help draft any legislation.
S.B. 747, according to journalist Will Doran, appears to be the first of the new election bills. The Republican-controlled North Carolina Legislature has a narrow veto-proof majority after formerly Democratic state Rep. Tricia Cotham (R) switched parties in April. Now, the North Carolina GOP has the votes to override prospective vetoes from Gov. Roy Cooper (D).
S.B. 747 would tackle a range of disparate election issues, including:
- Shortening the mail-in ballot receipt deadline from 5 p.m. on the third day after Election Day (as long as the mail-in ballot is postmarked by Election Day) to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day;
- Prohibiting the North Carolina Board of Elections from accepting any private funding for conducting elections, an increasing Republican priority despite chronic underfunding of election administration;
- Adding new list maintenance procedures related to jury duty disqualification in an effort to identify noncitizens on the voting rolls;
- Requiring voters who take advantage of North Carolina’s same-day registration offered during the early voting period to cast a provisional ballot that will only be counted if their eligibility is confirmed;
- Expanding who can challenge the eligibility of another voter from any voter in the same precinct to any voter in the same county, a move that would encourage these problematic and often discriminatory challenges and
- Requiring the state board of elections to design a “two-factor authentication process” for mail-in ballots.
The bill also adds new apparent burdens on election officials by increasing the reporting requirements on county board of elections during the early voting period, requiring them to log the information of anyone providing assistance to a voter, extending the timeline for preserving election records and more.
“And here they go with advice from election deniers and fraud perpetrators. Don’t be fooled. This isn’t about protecting elections. It’s about rigging them to help Republicans,” Cooper tweeted this morning.