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Group says pending bills could impact voting rights

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- As many as 2.5 million people voted early in North Carolina during last year's presidential elections, but one group believes that number could soon be significantly less because of a series of voting laws working their way through the General Assembly.

"We need to remember that voting is a privilege yes but it is also a right," New Hanover County Board of Elections member Geneva Reid said.

The liberal policy group Progress NC says that right is being infringed upon, but they say many in the Tar Heel State don't even know it.

A series of bills making their way through the legislature could shorten the state's early voting period from 17 days down to as few as six.

"Early voting is extremely popular," Progress Nc's Gerrick Brenner said. "People are using it. Three out of four North Carolina voters say they voted early. At this point you really have to ask yourself, 'Why are politicians in raleigh trying to make it harder for voters to vote?'"

More than 60,000 New Hanover County voters turned out early last year. Reid feels the bill could end the positive momentum they have seen in recent years.

"We think it's very important to let people know that we want to do what we can to encourage them to vote," she said. "One way that you encourage people to vote again and again is to make it doable. You don't put stumbling blocks in the way."

Progress NC says another obstacle is a bill to keep college students from being dependents on their parents' taxes if they register to vote at school instead of their home district.

"Being a full-time student, I am a dependent. I don't have enough money to go out and be my own person when I'm a college student, but I should be able to vote, because I'm still an American citizen. That just outrages me, because it's just an attack on us," UNCW student Carter Jewell said.

We tried to reach out to several area lawmakers to comment on the proposed bills. Only Rep. Rick Catlin (R-District 20) called back. He said he was unaware of the bills, but that he would be against anything that potentially limited the amount of voters at the polls.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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So the right to vote

As provided for in the 14th, 15th, 19th and 24th amendments to the Constitution can be "modified" to require voter ID?
Yet the 2nd amendment is to be held as "untouchable"???

Where are the Constitutionalists on voting rights?

Vog

Lest they forget

there is always absentee balloting for those who are unable to get to the polls because of work, school, or military service.

Actually Tom

A student can register in the town where he/she attends college.
Of course in NC the Honorables want to make Mommy & Daddy lose that deduction if the student does that. This is financial coercion.

This legislative session seems to want to tarnish the word "Honorables" as much if not more than their Democratic legislative predecessors
did.
Smiley and now Smirkey are linked by the common phrase "politician".

Vog

Does not matter

where they are registered.

They still have the right to request and vote by absentee ballot.

Tom

If the problem is voter fraud an "in person" vote is easier to verify than an absentee ballot - so registering to vote in your schools state is probably more verifiable a voting method.

Of course voting fraud isn't the problem here......

Vog

because it's just an attack on us

Please explain to me how this is an attack on anybody? What did people do before they had early voting? They either went on election day are asked for an absentee ballot. I am not sure why they want to shorten it (I vote early each year) but if they do they do. I am more interested in Voters ID than this and I think you should have to show an ID to vote.

you've hit the nail on the

you've hit the nail on the head, shorter early voting times and "VOTER ID" should go a long way against preventing voter fraud and teaching people that voting is a privilege and serious business, you will not get any legitimate voters upset over this new law.

Voting

Too bad you missed the nail, voting is a RIGHT.

So are you saying we should

So are you saying we should pass it before we read it, we just been there and done that, how's that hope and change working out for you? Really, early voting does have it's place, but anything past a week prior to election opens up a lot of unnecessary expense and chance at voter fraud which this country has been knee deep in since 2007, there are some things that need to be reigned in, and this is one of them, yes, voting is a right, so be prompt and quit trying to drag things out to eternity.