On Aug. 24, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) vetoed S747, a bill making a number of changes to the state’s election laws.
The bill includes provisions expanding the role of election observers, including allowing the chair of each political party in a county to appoint two registered voters of that county as election observers at each polling location and up to 10 registered voters as observers at any polling location in the county. It also removes a grace period for mail-in ballots, instead requiring ballots to be received before polls close on Election Day.
In his veto message, Cooper said Republicans “know that younger and non-white voters tend to vote more by absentee ballot or by early voting, so they shortened the time your absentee votes can arrive and still count, and they made it easier to throw them out.” Cooper also said the bill would intimidate voters by “stacking the polling place with Republican poll observers who will be watching you vote and can hear your conversations with election officials.”
Sen. Warren Daniel (R) said, “We are creating a secure election system that makes it easy to vote and protects election integrity. But Gov. Cooper wants his handpicked partisans running our elections and he apparently feels threatened by North Carolinians observing what happens in their polling places.” Rep. Tim Moore (R) said Cooper was “mischaracterizing a bill that simply strengthens election integrity in North Carolina” and said he expects the legislature to override Cooper’s veto.
Republicans control both chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly, holding a 72-48 majority in the House of Representatives and a 30-20 majority in the Senate. Three-fifths of members present in both chambers must vote to override a veto.