Statement on Passing of Senate Bills 747 and 749
The Republican-led North Carolina General Assembly has passed by override vote of Governor Roy Cooper’s veto Senate Bill 747 and Senate Bill 749, which is yet another attempt to undermine fair elections in the state. These bills significantly restrict the voting process, infringe upon the governor’s authority regarding election oversight, and harm the integrity of our democratic process.
Senate Bill 747 completely disrupts the vote-by-mail process by eliminating the 3-day grace period for mail-in ballots. This provision causes voters to be susceptible to mail delays out of their control, such as weather or inadequate staffing. SB 747 also exposes both election workers and individual voters to potential harassment and even criminal charges, which would create an ongoing culture of intimidation. Our most vulnerable communities, such as folks with disabilities, older adults, students, and rural residents, heavily rely on absentee voting. The provisions in this bill will do nothing but create even more barriers to these communities of interest.
Senate Bill 749, the other egregious bill, has language that directly threatens access to early voting. Early voting is the most popular method in the entire state, and a possible reduction in sites could result in a significant decline in voter turnout and create a pathway to a partisan power grab. SB 749 could also allow a complete restructuring of our county and state boards of elections. This overhaul could allow political extremists and election deniers to be appointed to positions of power and have access to the administrative process. Furthermore, the bill allows lawmakers to decide state and local level appointments, stripping the governor of that authority which that office has always retained.
“The North Carolina General Assembly has spent the past 10 months and the greater part of the last decade dismantling our freedoms, our liberty, and now our democracy. The passage of these bills all but confirms our serious concerns about the state’s commitment to fair elections, the protection of democratic principles and the ability to legislate without bias,” said Marcus Bass, deputy director. “The consequences of enacting these bills, including delays, intimidation, and partisan manipulation, are deeply troubling for the future integrity of the state’s political process. In an era where our state’s democracy has been downgraded to those in third-world countries, the people cannot stand for an unfair and exclusive electoral system that disrespects the rights of all citizens in North Carolina.”