NC Early Voting Plans In Flux Depending On Where You Live

Aug 8, 2016

Credit Tom Bullock / WFAE

The recent federal appeals court decision that struck down North Carolina’s voting law made a lot of things clear. There won’t be voter ID in the November election, for example. But the number of early voting hours remains unclear – and will depend on where you live.

The law the appeals court struck down required all counties to provide the same number of early voting hours in 2016 as the last presidential election.

Now, the rules go back to the old law. That means all counties must provide 17 days of early voting, but the number of polling sites and how long they’re open is up to county election boards. They must submit their plans to the state elections board by August 19th.

State elections director Kim Strach has urged local boards to be “mindful of expected turnout and historical use” of early voting in determining those hours.

More than half of all voters in the past two general elections used early voting.

Still, there was a proposal in Guilford County to cut the number of early voting sites. That plan included the removal of a polling place in a predominantly African-American neighborhood and at two college campuses.

That plan was proposed by a Republican-led board and was loudly criticized. The board abandoned that plan Monday and unanimously approved a bipartisan compromise.