Citizens Overwhelmingly Say “No!” to Long Lines at the Voting Booth
New Poll Shows Vast Majority Support Early Voting - A “Customer Service Culture” of State Government Starts with Treating Voters as Customer #1
RALEIGH— Concerned citizens at the NC General Assembly spoke out Monday about legislative proposals to shorten North Carolina’s Early Voting period. HB451, aka “The Longer Lines to Vote Bill,” would shorten the state’s Early Voting period from 17 days to ten. Unaffiliated voters and educators joined Progress North Carolina, as PNC released new polling data showing that voters overwhelmingly support and use Early Voting. Fewer chances to vote early simply add up to longer lines at the voting booth. Voting should be free, fair, accessible and convenient because the right to vote is the basis for our democracy.
“I’m an unaffiliated voter, and I always vote,” said Candice Davies of Cary. “I’ve voted early in nine of the last eleven elections because I am very busy with work and family, and I often don’t have time to wait in long lines to vote. I don’t understand how our current state lawmakers would think it wise to shrink Early Voting and make us wait in longer lines to vote.”
New poll results from Public Policy Polling show that an overwhelming 78% of North Carolina voters support Early Voting. 75% say they have used Early Voting in the past. If lawmakers chose to cut short Early Voting, then they are swimming against the tide of public opinion and common sense.
“When 78% of North Carolinians agree on something, state lawmakers should stop and listen,” said Gerrick Brenner of Progress NC. “2.5 million people voted early in 2012. Why would state lawmakers want to shorten Early Voting and make it harder for voters to vote?”
“The Longer Lines to Vote Bill” is not unprecedented. In 2012, Florida enacted similar restrictions on Early Voting. As a result, voters faced endless lines and waits of up to six hours to vote. Some estimate as many as 200,000 Florida voters gave up and never voted because of a dysfunctional election system which had cut Early Voting.
“We keep hearing about a new ‘customer service culture’ coming to North Carolina state government,” said Brenner. “How do longer lines to vote add up to better customer service for the people who hire the politicians? Voters should be Customer #1.”
Today’s press conference is just the first in a statewide tour of press events. Complete survey results are attached.