On Friday, May 22nd, bipartisan legislation filed in the North Carolina House of Representatives 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. Destin Hall and Rep. Holly Grange (R-New Hanover), 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.
“In these unusual times of COVID-19, this bill will help to prevent election fraud while also ensuring those who need to vote by mail are able to do so. I am thankful for all the bipartisan work on this issue.” – Representative Destin Hall
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.