Haywood residents will pay dearly if election law stands

Aug 01, 2013

The old adage “haste makes waste” is one that immediately comes to mind when considering the sweeping election changes authorized by the N.C. General Assembly in the final days of the legislative session.

The legislation morphed from a bill requiring voters to show photo identification into one triple in size that addressed multiple aspects of elections and voting in North Carolina.

The most-discussed parts of the bill include reducing the time frame for early voting by a week, disallowing a voter to check a box indicating they want all votes cast for a particular political party, the photo identification requirement and the end to registering to vote and voting on the same day during the early voting period.

For Haywood County residents, however, perhaps the most significant change will be one that costs them another 1.4  cents on their property taxes to replace perfectly good voting machines simply because the new legislation outlaws them.

If the law isn’t changed, this will be the second time a voting system was scrapped in Haywood, not because it didn’t work, but because the state decided they wanted a different system.

When Haywood County decided in 2005 which new system to buy, they chose from a list of acceptable options certified by the state. If the state decertifies the system, as is stipulated in the election law changes, Haywood, along with 30 other counties will be back to the drawing board.

Legislators, including Haywood’s Rep. Michele Presnell and Sen. Jim Davis, have pledged to fight unfunded mandates. Let’s hope the voting machine change slipped through because of the hastiness with which the bill passed, not because legislators simply failed to honor their “no unfunded mandate” promises.

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