Here are the perfectly logical reasons cited by Bob Hall, head of the advocacy group Democracy North Carolina, as to why county boards of elections should expand early voting opportunities, both the days to vote and the hours to vote: Because North Carolina is a swing state, turnout is likely to be high; the state has more voters, 275,000 more than in August 2012; it will take longer to vote because straight-ticket voting was eliminated by Republicans in the General Assembly; more North Carolinians use early voting than ever; precincts have grown larger, and thus Election Day will mean more waits and more crowds.
County officials owe it to people to follow Hall’s advice. They’re supposed to encourage voting, after all.
Republicans, of course, created the voter ID law with other voter suppression measures to curb participation by minorities, younger people such as college students and the elderly in order to hurt Democrats.
None of their actions may be enough to overcome a dismal and sometimes embarrassing performance by the GOP-run General Assembly and a weak slate of statewide candidates. Toss in the wacky candidacy of Donald Trump, and it may take even more than voter suppression laws to sustain the Republicans’ agenda.
But if they believe in that agenda, they should have no fear of county elections’ boards expanding hours to give more people a say.