A new study shows the benefits of early voting, a practice that is being restricted starting in the 2014 election in North Carolina.
The Brennan Center for Justice Justice at New York University School of Law interviewed 21 state and local election officials around the country who have overseen early voting.
It found that early voting reduces stress on the voting system on Election Day, means shorter lines on Election Day, improves poll worker performance, allows early identification and correction of registration errors and voting system glitches, and provides greater access to voting and increased voter satisfaction.
Based on the study, it recommends that states begin voting a full two weeks before Election Day. North Carolina law had allowed 17 days of early voting, but that is about to be cut back to 10 days under a law passed by the legislature this summer.
But the measure will allow voting places to be open longer hours.
“Early in person voting is a substantial improvement in voting that Americans of all political persuasions should be able to agree upon,” the report said. “Its widespread and growing use by voters, and the uniform view of the election officials we interviewed, confirms it provides ample benefits for both voters and election administrators.'”
State Sen. Bob Rucho, a Republican from Mecklenburg County, on Friday defended North Carolina’s change in a comment to an online version of this story:
“The state of New York doesn’t offer early voting, so NYU is a real expert on this issue???” Rucho wrote. “The facts are that early voting for ten days and the same number of hours as previously offered allows MORE county polling sites opened for longer hours and more available voting machines leads to more opportunity to cast your vote. Easier access and shorter lines.”
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