Congress failed to pass a spending bill to avert a government shutdown last night.

Republican lawmakers refused to consider legislation to fund the government unless Democrats were willing to concede on implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The impasse means furloughs for many federal workers while the Affordable Care Act enrollment continues as planned.

The Watauga County Board of Elections has restored several polling sites in Boone. That comes a day after the State Director of Elections indicated she would not approve a plan to combine the three sites into one location. 

Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

As the legislative wheels turn, the Voter Identification Verification Act was introduced, debated, and passed at light speed. It was late July - the last week of the General Assembly’s session - when Republican leaders introduced the sweeping voting changes.

Montravius King
Dave DeWitt

Richard Gilbert, who goes by Pete, is the chair of the Republican Party in Pasquotank County. Over the years, he’s ambled into the County Elections Board meetings in that coastal county and challenged the legitimacy of dozens of voters, many of them students from Elizabeth City State University.

His argument is almost always the same: that the college students who live in dorms there aren’t permanent residents.

So it wasn’t a surprise when he challenged the candidacy of Montravias King, a senior at the historically black university, who had filed to run for city council.

Local County Board of Elections meetings are usually quiet, lightly attended affairs. But in Watauga and Pasquotank Counties, recent meetings have been acrimonious and highly partisan.

Last month, the Watauga County Board of Elections moved a polling site off of the Appalachian State University campus. Across the state, the Pasquotank County Board of Elections denied a college student a chance to run for local office. Both decisions were decried by Democrats as efforts to suppress the votes of young people. Since this spring, all local Boards of Elections are Republican-majority.

Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University

On the same day Governor Pat McCrory signed sweeping election changes into law, the Watauga County Board of Elections made several decisions that raised the ire of democrats in western North Carolina.

The three-member Board, with a 2-to-1 Republican majority, voted to close the early voting site on the Appalachian State campus. The Board also consolidated the three voting sites in Boone into one polling place. That means more than 9,000 voters will vote at one site. The next most populous polling place in the county has fewer than 5,000 voters.

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper
N.C. Democratic Party

North Carolina's Attorney General, Roy Cooper, is taking a very public stance to urge Governor Pat McCrory to veto a recently passed elections law bill.

Among other things, the bill would shorten early voting by one week and require residents to show approved photo identification at the polls.

Cooper's campaign has sent out a mass email to ask people to sign an online petition requesting the governor veto House Bill 589. He says if passed, the legislation would cause expensive litigation and potential confusion.

Dave DeWitt

The House today is expected to take up a bill that makes major changes to how North Carolina will conduct elections. The Voter Verification Information Act includes shorter early voting periods and the elimination of same-day voter registration.

Other changes include no longer pre-registering young voters and increasing the maximum campaign donation per election. That’s in addition to the original purpose of the bill, to create a voter ID requirement.

North Carolina's Congressional District 12 in 1992.

In 2010, when Republicans won control of the state House and Senate, they radically redrew voting districts in favor of their own party.  In previous elections, Democrats have done the same.  Now, there's a bipartisan effort in the state House of Representatives to reform the redistricting process.

A steady stream of voters are making their way to the polls this election day across North Carolina.   Elections officials predict as many as two million people will vote today.

Leoneda Inge:  More than two-point-five million people voted early in North Carolina. But not Latarcha Lee of Durham.

Latarcha Lee:  It’s just kind of special like, wait til the last minute, you know.

Leah Tedrick-Moutz isn’t that much of a traditionalist.