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The Daily Tar Heel
Town Talk

Commissioners set agenda to restore less restrictive voting laws

At a Tuesday night meeting, the Orange County Board of Commissioners added a variety of voting rights issues to their 2015-16 Legislative Goals Package to combat the effects of legislation passed by the N.C. General Assembly in July 2013.    

The goals include restoring same-day voter registration, extending the early voting period, including Sunday voting during that period, reinstating pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, restoring straight ticket voting, eliminating all photo ID requirements, restoring validity of out of precinct provisional ballots and restoring public financing for judicial elections.

Commissioner Mark Dorosin said board members should adopt a more progressive political approach to increase accessibility to voting.

"This process that we go through every year and a lot of the language that we use again and again, and this is not a knock on the committee, but many of these items are rubber stamping of what the general assembly wants us to do," Dorosin said.

Commissioner Renee Price said fellow commissioners should be more realistic because only the state legislature can reverse the changes it made. 

Commissioner Earl McKee said reinstating voting rights is an issue that would be better to work on in the future, but not this year.  

"We need to state more visibly our goals and our visions of what Orange County should look like," McKee said. 

Dorosin said the board has an obligation to the county to address it as soon as possible.

"Anytime we have a chance to stake out this position, what I call the moral high ground, I think we should do it," he said.

The 2015-16 Legislative Goals Package will be submitted to the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners on Sept. 19 for approval.  

Notable

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools heavily relies on funds from the North Carolina Education Lottery proceeds, according to the meeting's agenda. The commissioners voted to ask for $137,920 for CHCCS from the state's total lottery fund for the 2014-15 school year.

Quotable

"We should be staking out the progressive highland at every opportunity and it seems like this is one we can do," Dorosin said of taking a stand on the voting laws.

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