By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
August 16, 2013
RALEIGH — Gov. Pat McCrory hardly had time to cross the T on his signature on the Voter ID bill Monday before opponents of the measure began filing suits challenging the law. But the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said House Bill 589, VIVA/Election Reform, is a step in the right direction.
“These new laws will not create a hardship for anyone who wants to vote in North Carolina. What they will do is ensure — through ID checks and a slowed down registration process — that all of our votes count,” said Dr. Creech. “We’re most pleased that the shortened early voting period takes at least one Sunday out of the mix.”
Tightened from 17 days to 10 days by the bill, early voting will still include the same number of accumulative hours. According to the new law, all early-voting sites within a county will post the same days and hours of operation.
“We have always opposed voting on Sunday for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that Sunday is the church’s prime time for developing the character of a nation,” Dr. Creech said. “It is a Sunday-cultivated character that makes an electorate fit to guard and preserve its liberties.”
He said a nation that wants to secure the blessing of liberty for posterity cannot, at the same time, ignore the Fourth Commandment. North Carolina began allowing Sunday voting in 2000, and last year, 21 counties opened One-Stop Early Voting centers at least one Sunday.
According to George McCue, elections specialist at the N.C. Board of Elections, if counties want to extend early voting opportunities, they can create a plan to open additional sites, remain open longer during the evenings or add weekend voting. County elections boards would have to come to unanimous agreement for such a plan and submit it to the state board for approval. Under the new law, no early voting will begin before the second Thursday prior to Election Day, and one-stop voting must end by 1 p.m. the Saturday before that Tuesday.
Whatever day they decide to vote, Tar Heel residents will be asked to show a photo ID beginning with the 2016 elections. They will no longer be allowed to sign up to vote and cast their ballot on the same day, but will have to register at least 25 days before the election. And they will no longer be allowed to vote a “straight-party” ticket.
“North Carolinians overwhelmingly support a common sense law that requires voters to present photo identification in order to cast a ballot,” the Governor said in a press release earlier this week.
“Common practices like boarding an airplane and purchasing Sudafed require photo ID, and we should expect nothing less for the protection of our right to vote.”
Recent polls showed that some 67 to 72 percent of voters support the requirement of a photo ID. North Carolina is the 34th state to enact a Voter ID law.
Opponents of H 589, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, are among those challenging the new law in court.
To read Rev. Creech’s previously written op-ed against Sunday voting, click here