NC House Select Committee on COVID-19

Speaker Tim Moore has convened a committee on the state’s response to COVID-19, with four working groups: Health Care, Continuity of State Operations (Emergency Services, Elections, & Public Safety), Economic Support, and Education. There will be no in-person public comment (for obvious reasons), but the committees have requested remote public input, which you can leave here

We can help each other write public input by copying our input here. That way other people can use your input as a starting point for their input. Simply leave your input as a comment to this post.

7 thoughts on “NC House Select Committee on COVID-19”

  1. Please leave a comment with the Continuity of State Operations (Emergency Services, Elections, & Public Safety) Committee about vote by mail. It’s very easy to make online comments. This is mine: We need to make vote by mail more accessible. Please allow voters to request absentee ballots by email. Please provide free postage and reduce the number of witnesses for absentee voting. And please provide more explicit reminders to the voter to SIGN THE ENVELOPE because people forget to sign.

    1. I submitted this comment to the Working Group:
      The State Board of Elections has recommended several legislative changes to make absentee voting easier and safer in North Carolina. I support the recommendations set out in the March 26 letter from the Board to Governor Cooper, North Carolina legislative leaders, and the Working Group charged with addressing election-related issues arising from the pandemic.
      These recommendations include:
      1. Allow a voter to request an absentee ballot form by fax and email
      2. Establish an online portal for absentee requests and permit the use electronic signatures.
      3. Allow an exception to G.S. § 163-230.2(e)(2) so that county boards of election could pre-fill voter information on an absentee request form, which could then be sent to the voter, signed, and returned.
      4. Amend G.S. § 163-230. to allow voters without a driver’s licensee, and who cannot access or remember their Social Security numbers to summit other evidence of the voter’s name and address. The SBE letter of March 26 explains the importance of this suggested change for the elderly (and disabled) and provides examples of other permissible kinds of evidence.
      5. Provide prepaid postage for the return of the ballot.

  2. To Continuity of State Operations (Emergency Services, Elections, & Public Safety)

    This is your chance to show the people that you care what they think, and that you want to hear them. Please follow the Board of Elections Recommendations, as follows.
    These recommendations include:
    1. Allow a voter to request an absentee ballot form by fax and email
    2. Establish an online portal for absentee requests and permit the use electronic signatures.
    3. Allow an exception to G.S. § 163-230.2(e)(2) so that county boards of election could pre-fill voter information on an absentee request form, which could then be sent to the voter, signed, and returned.
    4. Amend G.S. § 163-230. to allow voters without a driver’s licensee, and who cannot access or remember their Social Security numbers to summit other evidence of the voter’s name and address. The SBE letter of March 26 explains the importance of this suggested change for the elderly (and disabled) and provides examples of other permissible kinds of evidence.
    5. Provide prepaid postage for the return of the ballot.
    The only reason for not doing this is that you fear the results of an election where everyone can vote.
    Regards,
    Diane Lemieux
    Arapahoe

  3. Health Care Working Group
    NC is one of only 14 states that have not enacted Medicaid Expansion. In addition to losing billions of dollars for NC, 43,000 jobs and forcing the closure of rural hospitals, it has left 600,000 residents without insurance. You need to get past whatever aversion you have to doing this and EXPAND MEDICAID NOW. We are losing lives right here because of your pride. It’s time to help the people you are compelled to serve, or get out so we can elect someone who will.
    Diane Lemieux

  4. I submitted the following to the Continuity of State Operations working group:

    We don’t know how long it will take before the stay-at-home order can be lifted without risking public safety. It is therefore essential that we begin work now to ensure that all North Carolinians can vote easily and without risk to either themselves or to poll workers. The obvious solution is voting by mail.

    No doubt, concerns will be raised about voting by mail. I lived in Washington State for almost 3 years starting in 2009. Washington holds all elections by mail. There are no polling places. One still has to register ahead of time. Each registered voter receives a ballot in the mail. You fill it out the ballot, seal it in an envelope, sign the outside of the envelope and put it in the mail (one can even save postage by dropping it off in some mailbox-like lock boxes made available by the Board of Elections). This works well and his been in place in most counties of Washington for more than a decade, and was adopted statewide in 2011.

    I never once heard any accusations of voter fraud and certainly, when I was there, there were no problems with the system. Interestingly, Washington is like North Carolina in that it has some major cities, some smaller cities, and many rural areas. Because we already have USPS infrastructure in place everywhere, the whole system works well.

    Of course, there would be a lot of work to be done in North Carolina to set up such a system, to buy the equipment to scan the ballots and verify that the signatures on the ballots match the signatures taken when the voter registered, and to be able to report results quickly. But, clearly, it can be done and since Washington and several other states have done this successfully, we in North Carolina wouldn’t need to reinvent the wheel.

    Please move quickly to fund and begin implementing a North Carolina vote by mail system. Time is short, but we could do it if we start now and treat this with urgency. America’s democracy depends on it.

  5. I submitted the following to the Healthcare working group:

    The number of uninsured and underinsured North Carolinians is going to skyrocket as employment is devastated by COVID-19 public health measures. Even before this crisis, more than 10% of North Carolinians (over a million people) were uninsured. If unemployment goes to 20 or 30%, most of those people will lose the insurance they had through their employment. That could mean that we could have more than two million uninsured North Carolinians. We need to do something and do it fast.

    The obvious step is to expand Medicaid in North Carolina. The Federal government will pay for most of it and we already have a large budget surplus that we could easily use to pay for the small part that North Carolina would have to cover.

    Not only will expanding Medicaid help several million North Carolinians, it will help preserve much of our rural healthcare system, which is under enormous duress. And it will make all of us safer by ensuring that all North Carolinians can get the treatment that they need when they need it without going to the emergency room for non-emergency care.

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