The House of Representatives successfully passed an override vote of Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto on legislation adjusting early voting in the state after letting the legislation sit on his desk for ten days before vetoing it.
Cooper has 10 days to sign, veto, or allow legislation to become law without his signature and Cooper has been known to hold his vetoes until the proverbial eleventh hour before penning his intended rejections.
“Despite partisan arguments attempting to mislead the public, the fact is the goal of this bill is to expand early voting hours and availability for every person in this state,” Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Elections, said. “The claims to the contrary made by Gov. Cooper and the Democrats are simply not the truth. I am glad that we were able to override yet another politically-motivated veto from Gov. Cooper and take steps to give our citizens more options to cast their ballots.”
Cooper has so far vetoed 23 pieces of legislation in his first two years in the Governor’s Mansion, surpassing former Gov. Bev Purdue’s highest amount, set at the end of her term in the 2011-2012 biennium, at 19.
The legislature has successfully overridden 15 of those 23 vetoes and an additional five have been placed on the House calendar for consideration.
In vetoing the bill Cooper included a two-sentence explanation of his decision to saying, “Previous attempts like this by the legislature to discriminate and manipulate the voting process have been struck down by the courts. True democracy should make it easier for people to vote, not harder.”
The legislation in question, now law, requires that voting sites in a county by open uniformly across the state from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays to reduce confusion for voters and adds an additional day of early voting, totaling 17 days of early voting in the state.
The legislation moves back the schedule by one day eliminating the last Saturday of early voting but maintains the same amount of early voting days and requires that the voting sites be open for a 12 hour period on weekdays.
Democracy NC says that the change is meant to discourage African Americans from voting, as they say that is a popular voting day for African Americans, while House officials say that the intention is to provide uniformity in early voting and allow elections officials another day to pivot from early voting to running the general election that Tuesday.
In the coming general election early voting will be open from October 17 to November 2.
The Senate overrode the veto in a 34-12 vote and the House passed its override vote in a 74-45 vote.
Both votes fell along party lines.