WSSU, IFB among possible early voting sites

Early voting is currently going on at the Forsyth County Government Center.

WSSU, IFB among possible early voting sites
June 02
00:01 2016

Early voting sites at Winston-Salem State University and Industries for the Blind are among those being debated by the Forsyth County Board of Elections (BOE) for the general election.

While early voting is currently going on for U.S. House of Representatives, N.C. Supreme Court and South Ward City Council, the BOE was already considering sites for early voting for the general election during its Tuesday, May 31 meeting. The BOE needs to submit an early voting plan to the state by July 29, but BOE Director Tim Tsujii said that the sooner the sites are finalized, the more time it gives staff to make arrangements to use them.

Fleming El-Amin, the sole Democrat on the three-member board, submitted a plan with 15 sites. Among the sites were first-time sites at Winston Lake YMCA and Industries for the Blind, along with a return to using Anderson Center at WSSU as a site.

“I’m determined to include them as much as I can this year,” El-Amin said about WSSU.

El-Amin was outvoted on including the Anderson Center and Sunday voting in an early voting plan for the March primary by Chair Ken Raymond and Stuart Russell. He appealed to the Republican-majority N.C. BOE who also voted against his plan, 3-2, along party lines.

The Anderson Center was an early voting site from 2000-2012, but that changed when Raymond became chair. Raymond objected to the site, claiming that when he was a poll worker there in 2010, there was a professor who gave students extra credit for voting, though he was never able to identify the professor. The Forsyth BOE at the time said there was no violation since no one was given anything of value for voting for a specific party or candidate.

When asked after the meeting if he planned to oppose the site again, Raymond said that he’s “taking everything under consideration.”  El-Amin said that he’d be willing to appeal to the state BOE again if Anderson was rejected. During the March primary early voting meetings, the BOE received a 500-signature petition from WSSU students and another 500-signature petition from Democracy NC, asking for a site at the historically black university.

Another site the BOE has gotten numerous requests for is at IFB, which is located just off North Point Boulevard, and has a large population of blind and visually impaired workers. Raymond said he has concerns about that site too, since staff found issues with it involving sufficient parking for voters and finding a place for campaign workers to electioneer. Fleming said he supported it because IFB has said they’d be willing to have their staff park elsewhere to make room for voter parking.

Russell indicated that the board was getting no shortage of public suggestions for early voting sites. During the meeting, Annette Scippio said St. Peter’s Church and World Outreach Center, an East Winston mega church on Old Lexington Road, would like to be an early voting site. BOE staff prepared a 21-site list for the board to choose from that includes sites like Sims Recreation Center in Happy Hill and Hanes Hosiery Recreation Center.

Raymond and Russell planned to have their own 15-site plans at the board’s next meeting on Monday, June 6. Russell said he expected them to agree on most sites, but to have disagreements on a few, like Anderson Center, and on Sunday voting, which El-Amin is once again including in his proposal.

During the meeting, Tsujii said 501 votes cast during the current early voting had been approved. For absentee ballots, 651 had been approved and 44 had been rejected.

Early voting for the June 7 primary continues at the Forsyth County Government Center,201 N. Chestnut St. today, June 2, and tomorrow, Friday, June 3, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The final day of early voting before the primary is Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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