Brittney Lofthouse – Contributing Writer
Senator Kevin Corbin joined more than a dozen other Republicans to introduce Senate Bill 326: Election Integrity Act this week.
“It is time we reform our election laws to ensure that citizens have faith in the integrity of our elections,” Corbin said.
The bill, which is in the process of making its way though the Senate, and currently waiting to be sent to Rules and Operations of the Senate, contains sweeping election law changes that center around securing elections and eliminating voter fraud.
Under North Carolina’s current law, absentee ballots can be collected three days after the election if they’re postmarked by Election Day. But last year, the N.C. Board of Elections extended that deadline to 12 days after the election due to the pandemic and concerns about delays in the mail. With a significant increase in mail-in ballots as a result of the COVID19 Pandemic, 14,500 mail-in ballots were received and counted after Election Day in North Carolina in 2020.
Senate Bill 326 aims to change the current law of allowing ballots to be counted 12 days after Election Day — giving voters 14 days to request a ballot and requiring the ballot be returned by the close of business on Election Day in order to be counted.
The bill also proposes banning third party donations to North Carolina State Board of Elections and would fund $5 million to pay for a mobile I.D. unit to help voters in-person get a photo identification at the polls.
“The bill moves up the deadline to request an absentee ballot by a week, which would make it virtually impossible for postal delay to cause a ballot to be received late,” said Corbin. “Our entire system of government is based on fair elections. It’s how we select the people who will govern us. This bill will help reassure voters in the state that their votes are counted and our elections are fair.”