In the crucial swing state of North Carolina, many Republicans don't want early voting, and they're succeeding in getting some restrictions in place.
On Monday, The Hill reported that 23 of North Carolina's 100 counties have approved reductions in early voting hours ahead of Election Day in November.
These restrictions come despite a recent federal appeals court ruling that permanently blocked North Carolina's law limiting early voting. That court ruled North Carolina couldn't restrict early voting because it disproportionately impacted African American voters.
'Confidential' email uncovered
Republicans in North Carolina have skirted around that ruling, however, by asking local election boards to place the maximum restrictions allowed by law on early voting hours.
In an email <b>uncovered by the News & Observer</b> this week, NCGOP 1st Congressional District Chairman Garry Terry asked county election officials to offer only one early voting site for the minimum hours allowed by law.
The email was labeled "confidential" -- however, emails to county board of elections officials are public record.
Early voters lean Democrat
Early voting is disproportionately favored by African American voters, who heavily lean Democrat. In the email, Terry said board of elections officials were under no obligation to help Democrats win elections by allowing too much access to early voting.
"We will never discourage anyone from voting but none of us have any obligation in any shape, form or fashion to do anything to help the Democrats win this election," Terry wrote.
Republicans can and should make party-line changes to early voting.
Similar email sent last month
The executive director of the North Carolina GOP also sent a similar email to Republican county board members urging them to cut back on early voting hours.
"Our Republican Board members should feel empowered to make legal changes to early voting plans, that are supported by Republicans," Woodhouse wrote.
No Sunday voting?
Woodhouse also wrote that Sunday should not be a day for early voting "for a host of reasons including respect for voter's religious preferences, protection of our families and allowing the fine election staff a day off, rather than forcing them to work days on end without time off."
"Six days of voting in one week is enough. Period," he added.
Not just a partisan issue?
The controversy surrounding early voting is not just about Democrats vs. Republicans, it's about potential voter disenfranchisement. Voting rights advocates warn that cuts to early voting could disenfranchise minority voters.
Early voting on Sunday, for example, is popular among black voters who participate in church voting drives, usually called "souls to the polls."
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