Call to Action from Free the Vote NC
It is time to take action to get HB 794, the Voter Freedom Act of 2013, released from the Senate Rules Committee. If we don't act soon, the bill will die and we'll have to start all over again in January 2015 to reform North Carolina's highly restrictive ballot access laws.
As you may recall, in order to keep HB 794 during the last legislative session, we agreed to have it converted into a study bill. That effort was successful. The bill passed the House with a overwhelming 109-5 bipartisan vote.
But once it got to the state Senate, it was sent to the Rules Committee where it has languished ever since.
While the original bill would have dramatically lowered our state's high ballot access barriers, the study bill, if passed, would task the Joint Elections Oversight Committee to look into all the restrictions on ballot access which we addressed in the original bill: These include:
1. The definition of "Political Party" as defined by current law.
2. The nomination process of political parties, specifically smaller political parties.
3. The requirements for Unaffiliated candidates to obtain access to the General Election ballot.
4. The requirements for Write-In candidates to have votes for their candidacy counted in the General Election.
The oversight committee would undoubtedly hold public hearings, and take testimony from experts, which would give us a great opportunity to expose the unfair restrictions placed on alternative political parties and independent candidates.
Here is what we need you to do:
1. On June 10, call Rules Committee Chair Sen. Tom Apodaca (919) 733-5745 and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Phil Berger at (919) 733-5708. (Don't expect to actually speak to the Senator, but leave a message with the legislative assistant or aide).
2. Also call your local state Senator, especially if he or she is a member of the Rules Committee.
3. Urge them to take action on HB 794 and send it to the appropriate committee, or to the Senate floor for debate, discussion, and a vote.
Be short, be courteous – but be insistent. The main point is to urge them to take action to have HB 794 Voter Freedom Action released from the Rules Committee.
Here are some talking points to use during the call. Don't use them all; pick one you like.
North Carolina’s current ballot access laws, the second most restrictive in the nation, impose an excessive and unreasonable requirement on new political parties and unaffiliated candidates that’s far and above the standard prevalent in most other states.
These laws also deny citizens their right to vote for candidates of their choice, their right to run for office, and their right to freedom of association to form alternative political parties to place candidates on the ballot and freedom of conscience.
The Voter Freedom Act has the support of a broad coalition of political parties and public policy reform groups from across the political spectrum, including all of NC's so-called “third parties,” NC Independents, Democracy NC and the John Locke Foundation.
A viable democratic process and fundamental freedom requires that ballot access laws encourage and promote – not limit – the individual's right to self-government by securing their right to free choice at the ballot box.
For more information go to FreeTheVoteNC.com
President & Founder
Free the Vote North Carolina