North Carolina
North Carolina
TierMid Tier

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Responsive Gov’s Grade TL;DR

The North Carolina Legislature has repeatedly attempted to enact anti-voter legislation over the past few sessions. Unfortunately, this past year, the Legislature was able to finally follow through and successfully overrode Governor Cooper’s vetoes of two such laws that will curtail voter access and strip power over election boards from the governor and shift it to the Legislature. Therefore, North Carolina received an F on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where North Carolina Started at the Beginning of 2023

  • Automatic Voter Registration: No
  • Online Voter Registration: DMV ID
  • Same-Day Registration: Yes (but not on Election Day)
  • 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 2022, we considered the state a middle tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2023 activity against other middle tier states.

How Our Tier Compares

  • COVI (2022): 22nd
  • EPI Score (2020): 40th
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 5/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): FAIR

2023: This Past Year

Legislative Action

The Legislature enacted two significant pieces of anti-voter legislation last session, overriding the objections (and veto) of the governor. It also enacted additional election administration restrictions in a state budget bill.

  • SB 747 shortens the deadline to return absentee ballots by three days, bans private funding for elections, and requires voters that use same day registration during the early voting period to have their address verified by USPS before their ballot will be counted, among other things. This law is currently the subject of ongoing litigation.
  • SB 749 removes the governor’s power to appoint members to the State Board of Elections and gives it to the legislature and removes the state board and governor’s power to appoint members to the county-level election boards and gives it to the legislature. This law is currently the subject of ongoing litigation and has been temporarily blocked by the trial court.
  • HB 249, an appropriation act, also included provisions that bar the state from joining the voter list maintenance organization ERIC and repeals prior funding that had been allocated for the state’s ERIC membership.

Executive Action

  • Although Governor Cooper vetoed SB 747 and SB 749, both vetoes were successfully overridden by a supermajority determined to enact anti-voter legislation last session.