Raleigh, N.C. – Bipartisan legislation filed in the North Carolina House of Representatives on Friday proposes funding and reforms to ensure election integrity and safe voter access in the 2020 elections process.
House Bill 1169 Elections 2020, sponsored by House Elections and Ethics Law Committee Co-chairs Rep. Holly Grange (R-New Hanover) and Rep. Destin Hall (R-Caldwell), as well as Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford), and Rep. Allison Dahle (D-Wake), provides funding for elections boards and adjusts current law to address potential difficulties posed by the recent pandemic.
The General Assembly and Governor Cooper previously agreed to bipartisan elections reforms in 2019 adjusting the state’s absentee ballot process, reforms that responded to incidences of election fraud found in the 9th Congressional District in the 2018 elections.
Elections reforms proposed in H.B. 1169 include further changes to the absentee ballot process to address impacts of the pandemic without undermining earlier protections.
Reforms in the proposed legislation include:
- Permanently prohibiting the State Board of Elections from moving to an all by mail election or sending unrequested ballots to voters
- Requiring more information from absentee ballot witnesses, including a printed name and address.
- Temporarily reducing witness requirement for absentee ballot submissions from two witnesses to one.
- Allowing absentee ballot requests to be submitted by email, fax, or a new online portal.
- Providing CARES Act and HAVA matching and federal funds for counties for use for supporting in-person voting and increased absentee ballot costs.
- Providing temporary flexibility for recruiting precinct officials.
The sponsors of H.B. 1169, Representatives Dahle, Grange, Hall, and Harrison released a joint statement:
“These proposed election reforms and funding will receive a thorough bipartisan review in the legislative process to find consensus on our shared priority of making sure every voter in North Carolina has access to the ballot and confidence in our election results,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement.
State House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said the legislative process was the proper forum for temporary elections law reforms that serve North Carolinians.
“Voters deserve consensus bipartisan efforts to improve our elections systems, and this General Assembly will provide the necessary funding and reforms to effectively administer elections in the 2020 cycle,” Speaker Moore said Friday.