Early voting plans for counties across the state have been discussed and voted on by county Boards of Elections, but there are 15 counties that have not been able to agree on a plan. The State Board of Elections will be meeting on Sun., Aug 5th at 3pm in Winston Salem to review the options presented and approve one (or create their own) for each county.
They have invited public comment for the counties below through August 2nd at this link:
Buncombe (# of Early Voting sites could drop by 33%, and weekend hours could drop by 37%)
Durham (Could eliminate Sunday voting hours in favor of a new site in a primarily white area of SW Durham Co.)
Orange (The Dem plan looks to add Sunday Early Voting for the first time ever, but another plan wants to slash Saturday hours in half)
Pitt (Could eliminate Sunday voting hours)
Randolph (The GOP plan shows an increase in total hours, but a drop in the # of sites and Saturday hours. No Sundays)
Robeson (The Democrat’s plan wants to double the available voting hours and number of sites.)
Rockingham (3 plans offered with GOP Plan A cutting # of sites down to 1, dropping total hours and no Sunday voting)
Wake (Could eliminate a critical early voting site at NCSU)
For details on the various plans submitted by each county to the NCSBE click here.
A new law just passed by the NCGA has mandated that all early voting locations offer the same weekday hours throughout the county, even if some areas have less traffic at certain times of the day than others. This has created an undue expense burden on some counties who can not fund or staff every location in the same manner. Therefore more remote locations are required to stay open at the same times as busier areas.
Why is Early Voting So Important?
- Early Voting allows for same day registration (not allowed on election day)
- Offers a chance to correct errors in your voter registration on the spot, and still vote
- Offers weekend voting options, and more flexibility for a large number of people
- Provides relief on election day from longer lines
Early Voting Plans are critical as each county determines the total number of locations available, and the open dates, hours and locations of each of the sites. Offering a wider variety of sites is helpful especially for people who lack personal transportation. Having sites on college campuses is beneficial for the large number of student voters. Sunday voting hours have been a proven opportunity for “Souls to the Polls”, allowing group transportation of churchgoers to enable easier voting. Eliminating Sunday voting is a classic way to try and suppress the minority vote and should be opposed strongly.
In addition to submitting comments via the above link, you can also contact the members of the State Board of Elections directly:
Andy Penry of Raleigh (chair)
Joshua Malcolm of Pembroke
Valerie Johnson of Durham
Stella Anderson of Watauga County
Stacy “Four” Eggers IV of Boone
John Hemphill of Raleigh
John Lewis of Mount Pleasant
Ken Raymond of Winston-Salem
Damon Circosta, executive director of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation
The secondary contacts are the County Boards of Election members, who will be advocating for their county plans with the NCSBE. Link to find your County Boards of Election contact information.
Finally, please share this post and the information about early voting with your friends and contacts before August 2nd, and don’t forget to check if your own voter registration is up to date here! We also recommend checking out @insightusOrg on Twitter, an NC based 501c3 focusing on data driven activism. Their 2016 analysis of Early Voting in NC is excellent!
P.S. Vote NO on the Constitutional Amendment this November which reduces the NC State Board of Ethics and Election Enforcement to 8 members only, eliminating the 9th Unaffiliated member. Having an even # of board members will only result in deadlocked cases. This same amendment would also allow the General Assembly to appoint all members of boards and commissions, removing the responsibility of the Governor to make any appointments at all. This eliminates a key check and balance in our system of government, as the Ethics and Elections Board considers election law cases and voter challenges statewide.