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The Daily Tar Heel
View from the Hill

N.C. voting laws vs. Obama commission recommendations

President Barack Obama’s Commission on Election Administration released a report today with recommendations to simplify the voting process.

Obama called for the creation of the commission in his 2013 State of the Union Address as a way to cut down on waiting time to vote.

The report calls for a series of policy recommendations. See how North Carolina matches up:

  • Online Voter Registration: The report calls for allowing voters to register to vote online to enhance accuracy and efficiency of its voter rolls. According to the recently-passed North Carolina voting law, electronic signatures, including ones by a third party cannot be considered valid, but one captured by a state agency are valid.
  • Increased use of schools as voting places: The report says schools are the most efficient choice to serve as polling places. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, North Carolina requires or encourages the use of schools and other public facilities, but also allows churches to be used as polling locations.
  • Electronic Pollbooks: The report recommended the use of electronic pollbooks to improve accuracy and efficiency. Under North Carolina’s voting laws, State Board of Elections are called to review and make policy recommendations for the use of electronic pollbooks.
  • Expanding Early Voting: The report notes that while mail-in absentee voting is popular in the West, in-person early voting is more popular in the South. This was the case in North Carolina, where 2.5 million voters cast their ballot early. As a result the report says, “In order to limit congestion on Election Day and to respond to the demand for greater opportunities to vote beyond the traditional Election Day polling place, states that have not already done so should expand alternative ways of voting, such as mail balloting and in-person early voting.” This summer’s voting law changes had increased access to absentee voting in North Carolina, allowing for absentee forms to be posted online and be reproduced by county board of elections offices. But the law also reduced early voting by a week, which could limit a popular option among voters.

View from the Hill is a political blog by Daily Tar Heel staff writers. Any opinion expressed in it does not represent the Daily Tar Heel. Email the blog coordinator at

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