RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Republican-controlled North Carolina Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that requires mail-in ballots to arrive at election offices by Election Day for them to count, effectively moving up the deadline.
Ballots arriving in the mail must now be in by 7:30 p.m., or later if the county has to extend the in-person voting time. Under current law, ballots postmarked by Election Day count as long as they make it to election offices within three days.
There are exceptions for military and overseas voters.
“When you take the three days and turn it into nine days, voter confidence is eroded,” Sen. Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus) said Tuesday. “Every election has deadlines. And all we’re saying 18 months before the next election is the deadline is the most logical deadline in any election, which is Election Day.”
The bill passed 28-21. It now goes to the North Carolina House of Representatives. If Gov. Cooper vetoes it, state Democrats would be able to sustain it.
Democrats pushed back on the proposed change Tuesday, accusing Republicans of taking cues from former President Donald Trump who has made claims of widespread fraud in the last election but has not produced evidence to show that.
“We know this false narrative and distrust in the 2020 election comes from Donald Trump, who continues to traffic in such misinformation,” said Sen. Jay Chaudhuri (D-Wake).