North Carolina absentee ballot rule changes get final okays

Published 5:17 am Thursday, October 31, 2019

By GARY D. ROBERTSON, Associated Press

North Carolina legislators have finalized changes to mail-in absentee ballot rules in response to a state investigation of a congressional race last year that led to a new election.

A compromise bill given unanimous approval on Tuesday by the state Senate also would restore permanently early in-person voting on the last Saturday before state elections. The House followed later with near unanimous backing of the bill, which now goes to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk.

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Much of the legislation attempts to combat illegal ballot “harvesting.” Evidence of the practice surfaced in the 2018 campaign for the 9th Congressional District seat. A political operative and others working with the Republican candidate already face criminal charges.

The measure increases criminal penalties for people who attempt to sell or destroy others’ completed absentee ballots.