Remember all that shrieking a while back about the General Assembly’s evil plot to do whatever it could to stop people from voting? The hysteria from the left regarding supposed “voter suppression” was the outrage de jour.
But what really happened? In the May 2014 primary, the first election after the new voting reforms were passed into law, voter turnout increased — and among African-American voters, voter turnout increased by nearly 30 percent.
With just over a month to go, we thought it would be useful to know what the changes in the law mean for our citizens before the upcoming General Election on November 4th. This recent press release from the State Board of Elections outlines some of the effects that the new voting law actually has on Early Voting in North Carolina this year. The table below compares things like number of early voting sites, availability of Saturday and Sunday voting, and evening hours from their levels in 2010 (the last mid-term election) to what they are this year. Under the new law, for instance, the number of evening hours (those after 5 p.m.) has increased by 88.5%. And as if that weren’t bad enough, the number of counties offering one-stop voting on at least two Saturdays has more than doubled.
From the State Board of Elections:
General Election One-Stop Schedule Comparisons
Throughout the 2014 election cycle, civic organizations and media outlets have requested data regarding the availability of one-stop early voting throughout the state. With changes to one-stop early voting processes effective this year, State Board administrators have paid particular attention to one-stop availability as compared to 2010, the most recent non-presidential General Election cycle. A summary of increased one-stop utilization during the 2014 May Primary is available online. One-stop early voting runs October 23 through November 1, and we will continue to track participation through the General Election.
The below chart compares one-stop schedules from the 2010 and 2014 General Elections: *
|Number of one-stop voting sites||296||366||+23.6%|
|Cumulative one-stop voting hours||26,579.5||25,735.5||-3.2%|
|Aggregate number of one-stop voting days||3,402||3,014||-11.4%|
|Number of counties offering one-stop voting on at least two Saturdays||34||80||+135%|
|Aggregate number of Saturdays one-stop sites open (counting each day that each site is open on a Saturday)||428||592||+38.3%|
|Number of counties offering one-stop voting on Sundays||7||10||+42.9%|
|Aggregate number of Sundays one-stop sites open (counting each day that each site is open on a Sunday)||39||46||+17.9%|
|Number of counties offering evening hours for one-stop voting (after 5 p.m.)||52||98||+88.5%|
|Number of evening hours offered for one-stop voting (after 5 p.m.)||2,149.5||3,629||+68.8%|
*Mecklenburg County’s one-stop early voting plan was unanimous (including its total hours), however, the County is finalizing the location of one of its 21 sites. Final approval by the State Board is pending, and the submitted plan has been used in the above calculations.
Some important deadlines to remember: the Voter Registration Deadline for the General Election this year is on October 10, early voting begins on October 23, the last day to request an absentee ballot by mail is October 28, and the deadline to return an absentee ballot by mail is November 4 at 5:00 pm. Click here to find the early voting locations in your county.
For more information on the changes to election law passed last year by the General Assembly, be sure to read this engaging and informative article on our website: Viva la VIVA!