For a decade, registered North Carolina voters who didn’t go to their home precincts on Election Day — by error or on purpose — could still ensure their top choices would count.
They’d fill out a conditional ballot from the incorrect precinct. If officials confirmed soon after that they were legally able to vote in the county, their votes for elections not specific to their home precinct would be tabulated.
But Republicans at the legislature say people should be responsible to know where they’re supposed to vote, rather than force election workers to crosscheck their ballots and figure out their lawful choices. So they inserted in their elections overhaul bill passed last month a new law barring those out-of-precinct ballots — usually thousands combined annually in primary and general elections — from being counted at all.