North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) indicated on Friday he would sign a restrictive new law governing voting registrations in his state while admitting he was not familiar with one provision forbidding 17-year-olds from registering in advance of their 18th birthday.
“I don’t know enough,” McCrory told an Associated Press reporter toward the end of a press conference. “I haven’t seen that part of the bill.”
House Bill 589, which was criticized before becoming law for suppressing voters among the elderly, poor and communities of color, also increases the limit on campaign contributions to $5,000 per person; allows greater latitude for “poll observer” groups to station themselves at local polling sites; mandates voters have a state-issued photo identification; and bans same-day voter registration and state-run voter registration drives.
“Same-day voter registration has always caused me concern,” McCrory told the AP on Friday. “Because of the difficulty in its application, and the possibility for abuse. There’s plenty of opportunity for voter registration — online, off-line, through many methods. I thought that was a fair system before, and I think it’s a fair system now.”
However, state Democrats have countered that there has been little evidence of actual voter fraud. And NC Policy Watch reported on Friday that despite McCrory’s statement, there is no mechanism for registering to vote online. Residents wishing to do so must download a form, then send it via physical mail to their county elections board.
The AP also reported that when asked how three provisions in the bill would specifically cut down on voter fraud, McCrory sidestepped the issue.
“One thing you didn’t mention was the additional laws in that bill which prohibit the bundling by lobbyists of money, which, I think, is a major addition to that bill,” McCrory told the AP.
The governor also took issue with the suggestion that the section covering lobbyist bundling was inspired by allegations that his former law firm, Moore & Van Allen, benefitted from that kind of donation.
“You need to get your facts straight,” McCrory said, looking irritated. “It’s been alleged.”
McCrory also defended the sweeping new abortion restrictions he signed into law on Friday.
“If you go to the city that I grew up in, there was early voting but the locations for that early voting were very limited and extremely political in their placement,” he said. “That is being resolved by having fair access across the board at many, many more sites than they had in the past.”
“We are not gonna limit access in those facilities,” said McCrory, who also accused critics of misleading the public. “We’re gonna increase the safety in those facilities. And we’ve learned that two facilities not far from here in Durham have serious, serious issues that need to be addressed.”
But critics of the new rules — which were added on to a bill covering motorcycle safety regulations — have accused the governor of reneging on a campaign promise not to push through these kinds of laws.
Watch the entire press conference, posted online by WRAL-TV on Friday, below.
“We’ve had more reform in this state government in the past six months than this state has seen in the past 30 years,” McCrory said.