Democrats discuss changes in N.C. elections

By Rachel McAuley

February 9, 2014

LAURINBURG — Though some voting laws passed by the recent session of state legislature won’t go into effect until 2016, some are already being implemented.

Scotland County Elections Director Dell Parker briefed the about 22 people present at the county Democratic Party’s executive meeting Monday, held at the county courthouse, about six major changes to voting that will go into effect for the first time this year, including the trimming of early voting from 17 to 10 days and the elimination of the option that would allow residents to register and vote on the same day.

Sixteen and 17-year-olds can no longer pre-register, and will not be able to vote unless their 18th birthday happens before the November election.

Parker recommended that potential voters be registered at their current address at least 25 days before election day.

“This new law states you are not allowed to vote outside of your precinct,” Parker added.

In addition, Parker stressed that there is no longer straight-party voting. Voters have to mark their choice in each race on the ballot.

In 2014 and 2015, poll officials have been instructed to ask if voters have a photo ID, but cannot turn voters away if they refuse to answer or don’t have one. In 2016 it will be a different story — all voters must show their photo ID to vote inside the polls. Curbside voters with disabilities and voters using a mail-in ballot don’t need a photo ID.

“We’re going to help you get what you need to vote,” Parker said.

She said that if an individual did not have a photo ID to present at the polls they would have to sign a document that will help them start the process.

“The law is being challenged, though, isn’t it?” said Jan Schmidt, third vice president of the Scotland County Democratic Party.

“It is,” Parker said. “But as of right now it’s still a law in our books and it’s a law that I gotta follow until the force tells us otherwise.”

Joyce McDow, acting chair of the party, briefly went through some of information given to committee members about state organizations, county conventions, resolutions and platforms, meeting notice requirements and suggested they look up a website to find out more.

“We need to notify people about precinct meetings,” McDow said. “The public needs to be notified.”

McDow reminded committee members that there will be a Scotland County Democratic Party Convention at the courthouse on April 5 at 10 a.m.

The last order of business discussed was fundraising.

“We have very little money and we know elections are coming up,” she said. “… Ask for donations for the Democratic Party in Scotland County,” she said.

McDow said that as long as everyone helped and put in the effort, they would be able to raise money to support the party in Raleigh.

Rachel McAuley can be reached at 910-276-2311, ext. 15. Follow her on Twitter @rachelmcauley1.