Progress NC rallies against early voter cuts

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GREENSBORO, N.C.--Members of Progress NC met in Greensboro to argue against four proposed bills that would change North Carolina early voting rules during an election.

The bills aim to reduce the number of early days available for voters, as well as cut costs and improve voter integrity.

Senate Bill 721, proposed by Senator Buck Newton, proposes mandatory photo identification in order to vote, as well as revisions to early voting and same-day registration laws.

Senate Bill 667, proposed by Senator Bill Cook and Ronald Rabin, would restrict out-of-state college students from voting at a location different from their home address in North Carolina.

Senate Bill 428, sponsored by Senator Jerry Tillman, would reduce the number of early voting days and eliminate Sunday voting.

House Bill 451 sponsored by Representative Edgar Starnes, aims to change the early voting period, the order of the parties on the ballot and would allow flexibility in applying for absentee ballots.

George Gilber, former Board of Elections Director for Guilford County, said cutting the amount of days for early voting would restrict voter access and increase wait time at the polls.

"In order to serve the same number of voters without early voting we would have to buy millions of dollars of additional voting equipment," Gilbert said.

Early voting in Guilford County cost $380,000.

Each voter machine costs approximately $1,500, but have been discontinued by the company who manufactures them.

Gilbert said if the bill passes, the county would most likely have to purchase a new system.