RALEIGH, N.C. -- A revised bill supported by Republicans at the North Carolina legislature would add sweeping new restrictions on when, where and how citizens can vote.
A key North Carolina Senate committee has passed a sweeping election overhaul, which critics say could suppress the vote.
Republican State Sen. Bob Rucho says it's a necessary reform to make sure that elections are clean and fair.
But critics, including the NAACP, say it's nothing more than a power grab and a naked attempt to solidify control by Republicans over the State house.
The 57 page bill cuts a week out of early voting, ends the long-standing practice of straight party ticket voting and cuts out same-day voter registration and early voting.
The measure also repeals publicly-funded elections for judicial races and increases the maximum campaign contribution to $5,000.
The bill also would require voters to present a government-issued photo ID at the polls.
Republicans say the measures are necessary to combat voter fraud. Non-partisan voting rights groups and Democrats say the new restrictions amount to a blatant attempt to suppress voter turnout.
Alison Riggs of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice calls the bill a “farce" aimed at voter suppression.
She was one of 10 people to speak against the bill. All who spoke at the Rules Committee in the Senate were opposed.
"People hate this," said Riggs. "They want easier voting not harder voting."
But she conceded that opponents are running out of time in the waning days of the legislative session.
The Senate rules committee passed the legislation on voice vote. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.