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Cooper signs bill addressing fall election under COVID-19

Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law on Friday legislation providing money to help run North Carolina elections during the COVID-19 pandemic and making it easier to cast mail-in absentee ballots this fall.

The House and Senate gave final legislative approval on Thursday to the bipartisan measure and sent it to Cooper’s desk.

The measure is designed to prepare for a spike in demand for absentee ballots from people at higher risk of developing complications from the coronavirus. Voters would need only one witness signature on the envelope holding a completed ballot, not two.

The law also distributes $27 million toward things like equipment and security upgrades as well as personal protective equipment at in-person voting sites.

“Making sure elections are safe and secure is more important than ever during this pandemic, and this funding is crucial to that effort,” Cooper said in a news release. “This legislation makes some other positive changes, but much more work is needed to ensure everyone’s right to vote is protected.”

Cooper signed four other bills, including the 2019 farm bill and funds for emergency communications system upgrades and youth development center renovations.

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