Board might vote on early voting sites

Board might vote on early voting sites
February 15
06:00 2018

The Forsyth County Board of Elections is tentatively set to approve early voting sites today for the May primary.

The board held a special meeting last week to begin early voting discussion. The primary will be held on May 8 with early voting taking place between April 19 to May 5. The plan the board was leaning towards has the Board of Elections office at the County Government Center as the sole early voting site for the first week and with four additional satellite locations open for the next week.  This includes one additional site in the city at Southside Library and sites at Lewisville and Rural Hall libraries. One last site in Kernersville has yet to be determined.

Previously the Kernersville Library and Senior Center has been used as a site, but the town’s annual Spring Folly festival will shutdown the streets there during the last two days of early voting. Rather than forego those last two days or not have them at that site, the BOE wants to find another early voting site so all locations will have the same schedule and be open on the final Saturday of early voting on May 5.

Staff had yet to find a suitable site as of last week’s meeting. BOE Member Susan Campbell suggested asking the local YMCA in Kernersville and said the board was open to other suggestions. Campbell said she really wanted to see all sites open on that last Saturday.

“Once we start early voting, it kind of gains momentum and you can see in the numbers, how heavy it was on the last Saturday at the Board of Elections when that was the only place open,” said Campbell.

The board is hoping to vote on the early voting plan during their meeting today at 5 p.m.

Also during the meeting, BOE Director Tim Tsujii gave an update on complications from a court battle that left North Carolina without a State BOE and has kept county BOEs from 2016 in place. A court order from the recent ruling on the case is expected by today that will give instructions for BOEs going forward, allowing them to finally have new members.

Without a state BOE to certify voting machines, Forsyth was unable to get new equipment to a new state law that requires voting machines to produce paper ballots. There’s a last ditch effort by the N.C. Association of County Commissioners to get the General Assembly to pass legislation that will give counties like Forsyth an extension that’ll allow them to use their existing touch-screen machines for early voting. If that doesn’t happen, the county will need to rent machines for visually impaired voters and use paper ballots for everyone else. Tsujii said there would normally be 170,225 ballots printed but this would increase that number to more than 300,000.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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