North Carolina lawsuits challenging same-day registration change can proceed, judge says

Two lawsuits challenging how North Carolina legislators recently tightened same-day voter registration can continue, even though state election officials have recently made adjustments to address a judge’s constitutional concerns.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder refused on Tuesday to dismiss the suits filed by several voter advocacy groups and a voter, rejecting motions from defendants who include Republican legislative leaders and the State Board of Elections.

The lawsuits target a 2023 law that changes when election officials can disqualify a vote cast by someone who registered the same day during the 17-day early voting period.

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With over 100,000 new registrants having sought same-day registration in North Carolina during each of the last two presidential general elections, adjustments in the same-day rules could affect close statewide elections this fall.

A provision of the new law stated that same-day applicants would be removed from voter rolls if election officials sent them a single piece of mail that came back as undeliverable. The previous law required two pieces of undeliverable mail. The groups who sued said the new procedure would increase risks that voters would be disenfranchised by paperwork errors or mail mishaps.

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