Articles

Elections Board Violates Own Best Practices in Early Voting Shift

County boards of elections normally have until midsummer to select early voting sites for the November election and submit their lists to the North Carolina State Board of Elections (SBE). That is a best practice because it gives local officials time to secure locations and confirm that they have enough funding from their county governments...
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A “Stephenson Process” for Congressional Districts Can Limit Gerrymandering

Congressional districts should be about the communities they represent, not statewide political considerations, and not splitting counties when redistricting keeps communities wholeIt is possible to use county groupings when drawing congressional districtsA sample map demonstrates how using county groupings can help limit gerrymandering Legislative Districts Should Be About Their Local Communities, Not Statewide Political Interests...
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Election Reforms Have a Mostly Smooth Debut

The General Assembly passed Senate Bill 747 over Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto last October. It delivered a host of election reforms, many of which the John Locke Foundation had advocated for. Those reforms were first implemented in the March 5 primary. In addition, vote ID, which voters approved in 2018, cleared legal hurdles and was...
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How Many Early Voting Days Would Be Best?

Reducing the number of early voting days may be debated in this year’s General Assembly sessionReducing early voting days would likely have little effect on turnoutA possible compromise would be to reduce early voting days but require Sunday voting in every county Since its inception, early voting has been a source of conflict in North...
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The Cost per Vote of North Carolina’s Statewide Primary Elections

While the voter history file has yet to be updated for this year’s primary election, many political analysts and reporters have been looking to pull what information we can about this year’s primary. From examining the primary turnout and unaffiliated voting patterns to analyzing the Ballot Roll-Off, we can gain plenty of information from this...
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Introducing the 2024 Civitas Partisan Index

With the ballot for the North Carolina General Assembly set, this is a good time to get a lay of the electoral landscape ahead of the general elections. With that in mind, here is the 2024 Civitas Partisan Index (CPI). We assigned a rating to each district based on its CPI score. We rate districts...
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Rowan County Early Voting Site Left Unlocked

A concerned citizen forwarded an email to me earlier this week reporting that the Rowan County Board of Elections (BOE) office in Salisbury was left unlocked on the morning of Saturday, February 24. Like in most counties, the Rowan BOE office is used as an early voting site. The problem was discovered by a voter...
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Election Data Will Come Later, But We Will Still Know Results on Election Night

Unlike some states, North Carolina has traditionally reported almost all votes on election night. While that tradition will continue, a recent change in state law will shift back when most votes are reported an hour or two. Early Reporting Made North Carolina a “Red Shift” State Most North Carolinians vote early or by mail. The...
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North Carolina Early Voting Trends: 2024

North Carolina has started its final week of early voting, and with it, we should see a substantial increase in the number of ballots being accepted. This pattern is typically seen in early voting but is more prevalent in primary elections. Since 2012, the last week of early voting during presidential election years sees more...
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Orr’s Redistricting Lawsuit Incorrectly Applies the Civitas Partisan Index

Recently, retired North Carolina Supreme Court justice and 2022 redistricting special master Bob Orr filed a lawsuit challenging the redrawn congressional and state legislative maps based on “fairness.” My colleague Dr. Andy Jackson explained how the plaintiff’s central claim in this lawsuit is just another partisan gerrymandering claim presented under a new name. The case...
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Redistricting Lawsuit Seems Novel Until You Read It

I appeared with former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr in a news segment on a newly filed redistricting lawsuit in November of 2023 (starting at 2:47). Despite our differing perspectives, we disagreed less than I thought we would. We both agreed that plaintiffs in that and other lawsuits would struggle to find grounds...
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Why We Poll

Public opinion polling is a powerful tool for accountability in the democratic process, creating transparency between policymakers and the people they represent and amplifying the voices of the governedIn a time of increasing polarization and division, polling serves as a bridge-builder, facilitating constructive conversations and forging consensus around shared values and goalsCarolina Journal and the...
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Filing Failures: Candidates Disclosure Requirements Leave Exploitable Loopholes

The State Board of Elections and the Rockingham County Board of Elections allowed controversial Republican Joseph Gibson III on the ballot for House District 65Candidates for office must fill out a form regarding any of their felony convictions but can remain on the ballot if they lieAn exception provision in North Carolina’s felony disclosure law...
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North Carolina Needs to Reform Duplicate Voter Registrations Removal Process

A North Carolina group says they have found numerous duplicate voter registrations, but election officials have not acted on their findingsA pair of federal lawsuits set parameters for how and when citizens can challenge voter registrationsThe General Assembly should streamline the process for challenging duplicate registrations The North Carolina State Board of Elections (SBE) says...
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Judge’s Unverified Voter Registration Injunction Is a Fixable Problem

The North Carolina General Assembly addressed a “ghost voter” problem, which involves  verification of same-day registrations before associated ballots are countedA U.S. District Court upheld the verification process but enjoined its enforcement until election officials initiate a notification procedure for the affected registrationsThe State Board of Elections can implement a notification process that lifts the injunction,...
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Brunswick and Forsyth Election Boards Withdraw from “Zuck Bucks 2.0”

Almost exactly a year ago, I noted how a left-wing organization called the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) influenced election administration in North Carolina and nationwide through funds provided by billionaire Mark Zuckerberg (AKA: “Zuck Bucks”). I also noted how CTCL was behind a new attempt to influence election administration underway in the...
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Public Comment: Proposed Voter ID Rules Are at Odds with State Law

Below is my public comment on the North Carolina State Board of Elections’ proposed voter ID rules. A link to the proposed rules is below the comment. You can submit your comment on the rules through that link through January 16. I am writing in regard to 08 NCAC 17 .0101, Verification of Photo Identification...
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Two Years of Changes in North Carolina Voter Registrations

With a new year upon us, let’s see how voter registrations have changed over the past two years. Why look at changes over two years instead of one? The North Carolina State Board of Elections (SBE) conducts biennial list maintenance at the start of each odd-numbered year, removing hundreds of thousands of registrations that have...
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Who’s filed for the 2024 Election?

Filing for the 2024 election has officially closed as of noon on December 15th. With it, we know which legislative seats will be contested and who is running for what seats.  The full breakdown of candidate filings for the North Carolina Legislature and Congress can be found here. North Carolina Congressional Races Democrats have filed...
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Elections Board To Make Squishy Voter ID Law Even Squishier

The North Carolina State Board of Elections (SBE) held a public hearing on proposed voter ID rules on December 13. The proposed rules are for in-person (08 NCAC 17 .0101) and mail (08 NCAC 17 .0109) voter ID. A review of those regulations reveals that they provide exceptions that are so easily exploitable that they...
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Redistricting Lawsuit Arrives a Day Late and a Dollar Short

As expected, the Elias Law Group has filed a lawsuit (Williams v. Hall) challenging some of North Carolina’s new congressional districts. As if they realized how unlikely they were to succeed in their attempt to stop elections under this map, they waited until the day candidate filing had started to file their complaint The Challenged...
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Plaintiffs Request Gingles All the Way in Senate Redistricting Case

A legal challenge to the state Senate maps was filed just before the Thanksgiving holiday last week, questioning the state’s compliance with the Voting Rights Act. With candidate filing set to begin Dec. 4, the plaintiffs requested the court to expedite a preliminary injunction. Federal court judge James Dever denied the motion to expedite the...
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Elections Board Agrees to Partially Follow Law on Registration IDs

Election officials have been deviating from state and federal voter registration laws for two decades. A citizen complaint forced the North Carolina State Board of Elections (SBE) to start complying, but more action is needed to fix the damage caused by that deviation. Federal and State Law Requires ID Numbers for Voter Registration The Help...
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Shrinking Violets: Where Are the Redistricting Lawsuits?

Redistricting lawsuits are common in North Carolina. The General Assembly’s redistricting page is littered with maps that courts have tossed out (click on “District Plans Enacted or Ordered by the Court”). Only One Redistricting Lawsuit so Far However, unlike in the recent past, there has been no rush of lawsuits against the new maps. Only...
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