On April 4, the N.C. House Committee on Election Law and Campaign Finance Reform advanced N.C. House Bill 304. Under the bill, mail-in ballots that arrive in the three-day period after Election Day would no longer be counted.
H.B. 304, the "Election Day Integrity Act," would also require voters to mail or deliver their absentee ballot in person to the county board of elections office, prohibiting the use of one-stop voting sites for ballot drop-offs.
N.C. Reps. Ted Davis Jr. (R-New Hanover), Harry Warren (R-Rowan), George Cleveland (R-Onslow) and Chris Humphrey (R-Greene, Jones, Lenoir) proposed the bill.
A similar bill passed bicamerally in 2021, but fell to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto. At the time, Cooper said the bill would cause some votes to go uncounted.
If this bill passes the N.C. General Assembly now, though, the new Republican supermajority may be able to overturn a potential veto from Cooper.
Carol Moreno, the policy and programs manager at Democracy North Carolina, said the nonpartisan organization views H.B. 304 as an attack on voting by mail.
Moreno said the three-day grace period, which has been in effect since 2009, has ensured that absentee ballots caught up by delays in the United States Postal Service are still counted.
“Now we’re making a very striking change, and it would require a substantial education process for voters to become aware of it,” N.C. Rep. Joe John (D-Wake) said.
Ann Webb, the policy director at Common Cause North Carolina, said the bill would suppress turnout from voters who rely on mail-in voting, such as those who are homebound, have a disability, have an inflexible job schedule or live far away from their county board of elections offices.