Final day to register for upcoming election

Oct 10, 2014
In The News

Today is the final day to register to vote for the election Nov. 4 and voters must cast ballots at their assigned polling place.

On a 7-2 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the recent 4th Circuit Court of Appeals order on the same-day registration and out-of precinct voting in North Carolina’s new voting law. 

Those are the same procedures in place in May primaries but the 4th Circuit ruling said those elements of the law caused undue hardship on African American voters.

Like the differences felt by the two courts, opinions of voter advocates offer mixed reviews.

“I was very disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision and that they acted so fast,” said Marshall Williams, Craven County NAACP chairman, whose parent organization is one of the principals in the lawsuit. “It seems like it is now using partisan politics in making its decisions.”

“The U.S. Constitution is clear about abridging anyone’s right to vote,” he said. “If we stop one person from voting, for any reason, that’s too many. I think it’s a bad decision and will probably stop a lot of people from voting in this very important election.”

But Craven County GOP Chairman Carl Mischka said, “It appears to me the Supreme Court ratified what had been passed by the people of North Carolina and they thought three weeks was too close to change the provisions of the law.”

“It goes to trial next summer but right now, they made a ruling,” said Mischka, who thinks the whole new state voter law is right and fair. “From the research I’ve done the states which introduced voter ID saw participation go up, especially among minority groups.”

N.C. District 1 U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-Wilson, is a lawyer and has been a judge and, on hearing of the stay, said in a news release that he is “deeply disappointed. … The Supreme Court is continuing to dismantle the Voting Rights Act, which is a signal to states to pass discriminatory election laws.”

“There is a concerted effort to dilute the vote of minority citizens by erecting procedural hurdles that discourage them from voting,” Butterfield said. “The cases challenging North Carolina Voter ID Law will succeed on its own merits at trial and all North Carolinians will once again enjoy their full, unobstructed Constitutional right to vote.”

Boards of Elections across the state, in New Bern in Craven County, in Bayboro in Pamlico County and in Trenton in Jones County, are all open Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. to register voters.

North Carolina State Board of Elections Director Kim Westbrook Strach said, “Please encourage those in your community to register by Friday and to vote in the proper precinct on Election Day. We hope voters make use of the record-setting number of early voting sites, beginning Oct. 23.”

Voter registration forms are available at county elections board offices and online at ncsbe.gov/ncsbe/Portals/0/FilesP/NCVRRegFormv102013eng.pdf and Strach said voters who have moved to a new county must submit a new registration form. Those who are uncertain of their registration status may view their voter profile online at https://www.ncsbe.gov/webapps/voter_search/.

Williams said, “Craven County is going to be vigilant in getting people out vote and to register people to vote. We have been doing that constantly and there are other non-partisan partners helping to register N.C. voters.”

North Carolina State Board of Elections mailed more than 4 million voter guides to residences across the state. Guides can also be viewed online at ncsbe.gov/ncsbe/ and click the “voting” tab at the top of the homepage.