Competing elections bills would restrict, expand one-stop voting - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Competing elections bills would restrict, expand one-stop voting

Two bills introduced in the state House of Representatives would impact early voting in future elections Two bills introduced in the state House of Representatives would impact early voting in future elections

RALEIGH, NC (WECT) – Competing election bills were introduced Thursday in the NC House of Representatives, as lawmakers began their Easter break.

Rep. Edgar Starnes (R-Caldwell) filed HB 451, called the "Elections Omnibus Bill" which contains several reform-style measures. The bill trims the state's one-stop voting period by one week, and eliminates several other voting measures including early voting on Sundays, straight-party voting and same-day voter registration. It also restores partisan elections for judicial seats across the state.

House Bill 455, called the "Voting Improvement Act", is sponsored by four Democratic members of the House, including long-time Rep. Mickey Michaux of Durham County. HB455 seeks to extend the one-stop voting to include election day, and to expand the hours of one-stop voting on both Saturdays and Sundays during the early voting period. The bill also adds a new policy, allowing state employees to take 24 hours of paid leave for "election service", defined as serving as a precinct official on election day.

The Democratic bill also mandates the State Board of Elections create an online system for allowing citizens to register to vote, with access available at public cites such as libraries, community colleges and Employment Security offices.

HB 451 was sent to the House Committee on Elections for debate. Click here to read the full text of the bill.  HB 455 went to the Committee on Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House.  Click here to read the full text of the bill.

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