Election Loser: Myth of Early-Voting Suppression

This update of an earlier post is being written before the votes from Tuesday’s primary are counted, but there’s one clear loser: the myth that vote reform would suppress turnout.

According to the State Elections board, one-stop early voting concluded Saturday, May 3 with 259,590 votes cast over the 10-day period.  Turnout in the 2010 primary totaled 172,972 votes cast over a 17-day period. A greater proportion of registered voters participated in 2014 (3.98%) over 2010 (2.83%).

To sum up, though the voting period was shorter in terms of days, the reform clearly failed to discourage voters: Turnout, rather than slumping, increased by 86,618.

To reap what we wrote previously on this blog, in light of the final early-voting tally: Vote totals are convincing evidence the progressive-left was wrong when they claimed shortening the in-person, early voting period would suppress the vote. Plus, the results also show that an early voting window of 17 days was excessive to say the least, especially when we take in account that all 100 counties were held to the same time standard. It’s also good to know that, for the primary, 38 counties received approval to lessen the number of hours they were open during one-stop voting. No doubt the news that North Carolinians are more than able to budget their time in order to vote will surprise liberals, but that is what appears to have happened.

The progressives in the General Assembly and those working in Z. Smith Reynolds’ collective of Blueprint NC organizations focused their attacks on several key provisions in the law that do the most to protect everyone’s vote. Reforms to in-person early voting are one of those provisions. The Voter Information Verification act (VIVA) shortened the length of the in-person, early voting window from 17 days to 10 days, but it also inserted a provision to maintain the total number of hours each county allotted for the previous equivalent election. The left wailed about the loss of “the first week” of early voting, suggesting that VIVA’s proponents were suppressing the voters that vote in the first week of early voting. At this point, that sounds really silly doesn’t it? But that was one of their arguments.

Progressive-liberals will likely continue to scrounge for signs the Republicans who championed the bill only did so because they wanted to stifle African-American voters’ ballots. But this election and the ones that follow will prove them wrong.

Time is on the side of the overwhelming majority of voters in North Carolina who believe that our vote is worth protecting. The next few elections will demonstrate that the new elections reform law will only help re-establish integrity in our election process and begin to reassure voters that their votes really do count.

This all being said, the Left’s challenges to early voting should be disregarded altogether because every voter can vote in the comfort of their own homes by requesting a ballot by mail. The Left’s arguments against shortening the time to vote early in-person are diminished immediately when we understand that early voting really begins at least 50 days ahead of an election – when absentee voting by mail begins.