Dozens rally against bill cutting early voting period - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Dozens rally against bill cutting early voting period

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Rally takes place in Downtown Wilmington Rally takes place in Downtown Wilmington

WILMINGTON, NC - (WECT) - Republicans in Raleigh have proposed a couple of bills to change elections in North Carolina, like shortening the time for early voting, eliminating same-day registration, and not allowing parents to claim a child as a dependant if they register to vote somewhere else. Monday, several groups voiced their opposition to those plans.

"We would have long lines," said voter Maggie Parish. She is worried if the early voting period is cut short, which is what SB721 calls for, the lines on election day will be too long.

"We would have people giving up on voting, because they had to wait too long." Parish says she is scared not everyone would stick around to cast their ballot.

"People have to go back to work or would run out of energy or have young children with them," said Parish. "I think people would give up."  That's why she joined up with others in Progress NC to rally against the legislation in downtown Wilmington on Monday morning.

"The lines would be extremely long and what I fear is that many people would chose not to vote," said  Geneva Reid, a member of the New Hanover Board of Elections. She says more people are choosing to vote early and argues keeping early voting an option for longer than the proposed six days, is necessary.

"It will cut down on the lines, it seems to make the voters very happy," said Reid. "It seems to encourage participation."

"Students just don't want to wait in line for four and a half hours, they don't want to and they wont," agreed UNCW student, Carter Jewell. She says it's about more than just the early voting. She is worried another proposed bill would also lower student turnout. SB 667 would no longer let parents claim their children as dependents if they register to vote in a different district.

"You hear the politicians say we are going to do this for UNCW we will do that to UNCW, you want to want to vote because this is your home for four years, and most of us are dependants on our parents, as full time student I have to be," said Jewell. 

She's not the only one with concerns, some of her peers spent the afternoon encouraging students to call their representatives and ask them to turn both bills down.

"Putting these limitations on it, it's really going to decrease the turnout for college students," argued freshman Dakota Cary.

Both groups said they want everyone to be able to cast their ballot, and are worried if the new legislation passes it won't be as easy.

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