The North Carolina “Voter ID Bill” was recently overturned by a panel of federal activist judges. Plans for One-Stop voting in all 100 counties had already been submitted to the State Board of Elections office. Because of provisions that were in the now overturned “Voter ID Bill” One-Stop or early voting reverted to the 2012 rules.
Each County was given the latitude to choose between the minimum required plan or their own customized plan. Because we have a Republican Governor the Board of Elections members in each County generally consist of two Republicans and one Democrat appointed by their respective County Party Chairmen.
In Lenoir County we believe that all voters can be served adequately during the early voting process by implementing the Board of Elections office as the sole voting place for the minimum required plan. Because a unanimous decision could not be reached by the three board members two very different plans will now go to the State Board of Elections. A few of the majority party’s reasons for the minimum plan include:
• The site will accommodate a substantial number of voting machines.
• The site meets all the physical specifications required.
• The minimal amount of seasonal staff needed.
• All Board of Election staff will be in the adjacent office including the Director and IT personnel.
• Monitor voter fraud more effectively. Lenoir County BOE knows of several cases of attempted voter fraud in the 2012 election.
• Active voters in January, 2012 were 34,656. In January, 2016 the active voters were 31,294, a decrease of 3362 voters or a 9.7% decrease in active voters.
• Lenoir County Board of Elections budget was reduced by $44,000 for tax year 2016.
o The total cost of the proposed plan from the Majority Plan will be approximately $7600 with 106.5 total hours of operation in one location.
o The total cost proposed by the Minority Party will be over $62,000 including rental fees and/or lease agreements for six operating sites with a total of 828 hours, which is excessive in comparison to like-sized counties.
In 2012 there were four One Stop Voting locations, with two sites producing over 77% of the total votes cast. One site, which is no longer available due to unsanitary and unacceptable conditions, was the largest producing site with 49.48% of the total votes cast for the 2012 General Election, is within 2.5 miles of the Lenoir County Board of Elections. The second site, which is no longer an option, is within 8 city blocks of the Lenoir County Board of Elections and produced approximately 28% of the total votes cast in the 2012 General Election.
In conclusion, The Lenoir County Board of Elections site offers ample space to accommodate all voters willing to cast a ballot. The site is easily accessible, well known, and safe for all voters. This proposal also meets the minimum required plan for One Stop Voting.
Voting is a privilege and a civic duty. If you know you will have difficulty making it to of the polls please request an Absentee Ballot from your local Board of Elections office. http://www.co.lenoir.nc.us/boe.html