RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina has failed to change its election laws to ensure that voters can safely cast ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic, voting rights advocates claim in a federal lawsuit.
The nonprofit Democracy North Carolina and the League of Women Voters of North Carolina sued Friday on behalf of several elderly or disabled residents whose medical conditions make them more vulnerable to coronavirus.
The lawsuit alleges that several aspects of North Carolina’s absentee vote-by-mail requirements are unconstitutional because voters will have to risk exposure to COVID-19 to successfully vote.
For example, mail-in absentee voters are required to complete the ballot in the presence of two witnesses or a notary. State law also requires voters to submit their registration applications at least 25 days before the election or else register in-person at an early voting site, the suit notes.
The lawsuit says that will result in millions of state residents either losing their right to vote or being forced to compromise their health in order to cast a ballot. The state Board of Elections and other state officials are named as defendants.