During the early morning hours of August 24, the North Carolina House passed H88, the ballot access bill. Unfortunately, it was amended so that it does more harm than good. The bill does lower the number of signatures needed for a statewide independent from 2% of the number of registered voters to 2% of the last gubernatorial vote, but this is required by a court decision last year anyway. The only other improvement it makes is to lower the vote test (for a party to remain on the ballot) from 10% to 7%. But it makes existing law more restrictive by moving the petition deadline two months earlier, and requiring the nominees of parties that nominate by convention to pay filing fees. The bill cannot pass this year anyway, since the Senate has gone home. However, the bill remains alive and could pass next year.