RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a bill that would have required absentee ballots in North Carolina to arrive by Election Day to be counted.
The measure, called the "Election Day Integrity Act," would set Election Day as a firm deadline for any ballots sent by mail. Current North Carolina law allows absentee ballots that are postmarked on or before Election Day three additional days to arrive at a county's elections office. Republicans who supported Senate Bill 326 say the extra time allowed for ballot counting in 2020 undermined voters' confidence in the electoral process.
"The legislature ironically named this bill 'The Election Day Integrity Act' when it actually does the opposite," Cooper said in a statement. "Election integrity means counting every legal vote, but this bill virtually guarantees that some will go uncounted."
Republican lawmakers issued statements saying the bill would increase voters' confidence in future elections.
"Election Day should be the election deadline because it boosts confidence in elections to have results as close to the end of voting as possible," Sen. Paul Newton, a Republican from Cabarrus County, said. "Election Day is the election deadline in plenty of Democrat-run states, yet Gov. Cooper and Democrats keep peddling this bizarre theory that the policy is an attempt at voter suppression."
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