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NCGOP’s ‘Election Integrity’ Bill Would Result in Thousands of Voters Having Their Ballots Thrown Out

Source: WRAL

Inspired by twice-impeached former President Donald Trump, North Carolina House Republicans are pushing another bill that should be considered an assault on democracy and voting rights.

A House committee on elections law earlier this month approved House Bill 304, which would get rid of the state’s three-day grace period for mail-in ballots to arrive after the election, according to WRAL.

The legislation would likely result in thousands of North Carolinians having their ballots thrown out all in the name of improving “trust in elections.” In 2020, more than 11,000 valid ballots came in during the grace period. Under HB 304, none of those votes would have counted.

WRAL reported that Republicans dismissed concerns about voters having their ballots thrown out, “saying they trusted voters to hear about these changes and change their behavior accordingly.”

Republicans’ goal is to have no votes counted after Election Night.

“I think where we’re at right now as a nation, as a state, the people of North Carolina want to know — on Election Day — who has won and who has been elected,” Rep. David Willis, a Union County Republican, told WRAL.

The bill is directly tied to Trump’s call to “stop the count” in swing states in 2020 following his declaration on Election Night that he had won reelection, despite the fact that every ballot had yet to be counted.

Had elections boards across the country heeded Trump’s call to stop the count, he would have been declared the winner. Of course, that didn’t happen and over the next few days, it became very clear that Joe Biden had actually won.

Biden’s eventual victory only further fueled Trump supporters’ belief that the election had somehow been stolen, which in turn led to many MAGA Republicans complaining to their representatives that something must be done to stop another election from being “stolen.”

House Bill 304 is the NCGOP’s way of responding to those constituents.

Current North Carolina law says that any mail-in ballot postmarked on or before Election Day will be counted as long as it arrives during the three-day post-election grace period.

Democrats in the legislature have said that even if the bill does eventually become law, it won’t actually accomplish what Republicans think it will because North Carolina can’t even certify election results until at least 10 days after the election. That means that, aside from throwing out tens of thousands of votes, the bill wouldn’t result in North Carolina certifying any winners on Election Night.

“I heard Rep. Willis say we want to know on Election Night,” said Rep. Pricey Harrison, a Greensboro Democrat. “But we’re not going to know on Election Night. So I can’t really figure out the purpose of this bill, beyond suppressing the vote.”

The bill passed 14-7, with every Republican voting yes and every Democrat voting no.

The legislation would also eliminate most of North Carolina’s current options for people who want to drop off mail-in ballots in person instead of mailing them back. Current law allows people to drop their ballots off at polling places or their local county elections office, but this bill would only allow the county elections office.

Click here to read more from WRAL

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