House Bill 1267 is a great example of the old adage “hard cases make bad law.” It was drafted in honor of U.S. Senate candidate Mark Harris’ father, who cast a ballot during the early voting period this year but passed away before May’s primary Election Day. Speaker of the House Thom Tillis, co-sponsor of the bill, ultimately won the Republican Primary for U.S. Senate. HB 1267 will effectively allow dead people to vote by counting ballots of people who die before Election Day. The precedent would be set and “Election Day” would be a thing of the past – we could end up calling it something like “Election Window” or “Election Time Period.”
The dilemma of voters who vote and die before Election Day has been a problem exacerbated by the continued move to more and more early voting. According to an AP article written in 2004 (datelined Raleigh, NC), North Carolina requires a retrievable ballot that is not counted until Election Day specifically to address the possibility of a voter casting an early vote and then dying before Election Day. The process was intended to allow election officials to retrieve the ballot if they are notified that an early voter has died.
Here’s the rub: For the most part, only well-known citizens and politicos and associates of politicos have their votes challenged when they vote and then die before Election Day, while other voters die without their demise coming to the attention of the authorities, so their votes are counted. But there is no good way to remedy this situation. Any possible “solution” (outside of eliminating early voting altogether) would not make this wrong right. It would, as this legislation does, only make matters worse. Imagine the new motto “North Carolina – First in Dead People Voting.”
This is not a new problem; it is a result of a progressive idea – early voting without an excuse. Liberals campaigned for early voting in the 1990s by promising that it would increase turnout. While early voting has become popular in N.C, especially in presidential election years, it has failed to increased turnout. The progressives also assured the voters that this new way of voting would not diminish the role of Election Day, all the while knowing that they could not enforce the law because in North Carolina only voters can challenge other voter’s ballots.
How do I know that? In the 2004 AP article there’s a quote from Don Wright, then and now General Counsel to the State Board of Elections. “We don’t check the hospitals on the day before the election,” Wright told the AP. “We’re not at the morgue.”
It’s very likely his quote made me cringe when I read it years ago, because it makes me cringe now. Leave it to Wright (a throwback to previous administrations) to make a sarcastic and flippant statement about something so important – but I digress.
We can only hope the legislature will stop and reflect on recent hard-fought successes before enacting this legislation. The champions of election integrity gained momentum in 2011–2013, and last year the General Assembly finally passed a landmark elections reform bill (the Voter Identification Verification Act – VIVA) that was the big first step in restoring the people’s confidence in the voting process in NC.
We can understand the sentiment that prompted HB 1267. But it sets a bad precedent and opens the door for more legislation that would set us on the slippery slope of progressive chaos at the polls.
So, is Civitas now censoring comments?
Susan Myrick says
Yoyoman, Did you make another comment that didn’t make it on the site?
Appears any comment that challenges the juvenile nonsense posted here is censored. No wonder you have zero credibility.
Brian Balfour says
But of course random trolls hiding behind childish screen names like “yoyoman” have high levels of credibility.
Susan Myrick says
YoYoman – best I can tell we did not remove your comment – try again.
But, just so you know, while we never censor content based on political or ideological point of view – we will remove content that is abusive, or uses excessive foul language.
It would appear, since you say you’re not censoring, you must be having website problems?
Susan Myrick says
No yoyoman, doesn’t look like we are having website problems and we have now received 3 different comments on this one post from you – so, I would suggest giving your initial comment another try.
Unaffiliated Voter says
THANKS to Civitas and Susan Myrick for reporting the FACTS everyday! We the people no longer can depend on other media, due to the lack of investigative reporting.
Sure, I’ll get right on it. And post for the 3rd or 4th time.
This new law, in my honest opinion, will be a NIGHTMARE for the BoE to police.
For example, lets say you live in Greensboro & you KNOW you’re going to be at meeting in Raleigh all day on Election Day. So you early vote the Thursday before Election Day. During your drive to Raleigh at 9:30pm on Monday night, you’re in wreck on I-85 / I-40 and you’re killed.
How is the BoE gonna know that you’ve died? Your Obit doesn’t even hit the papers until Thursday or Friday and TRUST ME, the County won’t issue Death Certificates until sometimes WEEKS after the actual death.
So…. some folks will have their votes PURGED, yet others will slip thru the cracks.
And…. here’s another thought. What if you die actually ON election day. What’s the cutoff? Is it If you’re alive when the POLLS open at 6:00am? Or when the POLLS CLOSE at 7:00pm?
It’ll be a nightmare.
Thank you for posting Ms. Myrick.
Respectfully submitted by SD2010
Larry mcduffie says
YoYo,if you want to get censored,go to a liberal website and try to post anything conservative .