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Group protests proposed early voting changes

Published On: Apr 09 2013 05:31:52 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 09 2013 05:41:29 PM CDT
NEW BERN -

The duration of early voting in North Carolina could soon be shortened if three bills proposed in the state legislature become law.

H.B. 451, S.B. 666 and 667 all deal with changes to how early voting operates in the state.

The bills propose to shorten the duration early voting from 17 to 10 days.

Opponents say that could hurt voter turnout.

"They are going to have to buy more voting machines and they are going to have to open more polling places, or they're going to have to suffer through longer lines," Gerrick Brenner said, executive director for Progress North Carolina.

The bills also call for a repeal of same day voter registration and get rid of some polling places.

One of the benefactors of the bill, Senator Bill Cook, said the bill is meant to ensure voter integrity, as well as saving the state $686,000 per election. A press release from the senator's office states money saved would be better used to hire teachers and first responders.

Brenner said counties still see a need for early voting.

"If the cost is such an issue, can the people who are trying to cut down on early voting," Brenner said. "point to any county board of elections in this state, any county which is asking for fewer days of early voting?"