The Senate took a preliminary vote late Wednesday to pass the monster bill that aims to limit voting and expand ways for big money to influence North Carolina elections. This WRAL story gives a rundown of the provisions in the bill (H-589) and the action on the Senate floor. The Senate will take up the bill for a final vote on Thursday, beginning at 11 AM (subject to last-minute change). More amendments are possible before Republican Senators push the bill through with their lopsided super-majority. The “second reading” vote of 32-14 followed party lines, with all Democrats opposing the bill. Later Thursday, the bill will go over to the House for an expected vote to concur with the changes made by the Senate to the original bill.
House Republican leaders have been conferring throughout the day with Senate leaders to make changes in a few of the bill’s several dozen provisions beyond the well-known ones about early voting, same-day registration, and voter ID. The House could still stop the process or force some changes, for example to the provision that allows outside electioneering groups to spend unlimited secret money in the summer before a major election, or the provision to add vigilante observers who can challenge voters inside the polls. And there’s a petition to GOP House leaders urging them to make these and other changes, which you’re encouraged to sign, pronto. Alternatively, the House could follow the Senate and adopt what is one of the most restrictive photo ID bills in the nation, combined with a load of other anti-voting measures – and then it’s on to Gov. Pat McCrory for the final drama. Tonight, six young people were arrested for sitting in Speaker Thom Tillis’ office, demanding that he take action to stop H-589.