North Carolina
North Carolina
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Grade TL;DR

The North Carolina State Legislature attempted to pass three anti-voter measures in 2021. However, two of those bills were vetoed by the governor — the only bill that passed strips the State Board of Elections of oversight responsibilities. In 2022, the Legislature passed one minor anti-voter reform, which was also again vetoed by the governor. The Legislature’s attempts to pass anti-voter bills over the last two years was taken into heavy consideration when scoring North Carolina this past year — we also strongly considered the governor’s role in protecting voting rights for eligible voters in the state. Considering the legislature’s anti-voter bills and the governor’s success at preventing them from becoming law, North Carolina received a C+ on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where North Carolina Started in 2020

  • Automatic Voter Registration: No
  • Online Voter Registration: DMV ID
  • Same-Day Registration: Yes
  • Restoration of Rights: Parole and/or Probation Disenfranchisement
  • Vote by Mail: No-Excuse
  • Electronic Registration Information Center Member: No
  • Early Voting Opportunities: In-Person Absentee
  • ID Requirements: No Document Required

Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for North Carolina as of 2020, we considered the state a middle tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2021-22 activity against other middle tier states.

How Our Tier Compares:

  • COVI (2020): 23rd
  • EPI Score (2020): 40th
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 5/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): FAIR

2021: Two Years Ago

Legislative Action

The General Assembly passed three anti-voter bills during the 2021 session, two of which were ultimately vetoed by Governor Cooper. The third, S 105, folded an effort to weaken the State Board of Elections’ authority into the state budget appropriation bill.

  • S 105 removes the State Board of Elections’ authority to enter into settlement agreements over election law issues with the attorney general’s consent when the legislature is out of session.

Executive Action

As referenced above, Governor Cooper successfully vetoed two anti-voter bills passed by the Assembly in 2021:

  • S 725, which would have prohibited the State Board of Elections, county boards of elections, and county commissioners from accepting private funds for election administration. In vetoing S 725, the governor stated that if the legislature wants to eliminate outside funding for elections, it should focus on making sure local election boards are adequately funded by the state.
  • S 326, which would have shortened the deadline to return absentee ballots to the close of polls. Ballots are currently counted if they are postmarked by Election Day and received within three days after the election. Governor Cooper noted that S 326 would have inevitably led to legal votes going uncounted.

2022: This Past Year

Legislative Action

The General Assembly did not successfully pass any election-related laws during the 2022 session.

Executive Action

Governor Cooper vetoed one bill passed by the Assembly in 2022:

  • H 605, would have shifted the primary dates and candidate filing deadlines for the 2022 election.