Early voting will be at West End Plaza for June 7 election

Published 12:10 am Friday, May 20, 2016

SALISBURY —  Two Rowan County government departments are gearing up for a move that will affect early voting for June 7 primary elections.

Early voting for the June 7 primary starts Thursday, but it won’t be in the usual spot at the Rowan Public Library Headquarters in Salisbury. Instead, the site for early voting will be the West End Plaza, where the Rowan County Board of Elections and Veterans Services department are moving.

The Board of Elections office will be located adjacent to Badcock Home Furniture. Rowan County Elections Specialist Laura Russell said she will place signs at the exterior of the building to guide voters into the polling location.

Russell said the move will become permanent on May 31. For a period of two days next week — Thursday and Friday — only early voting will occur at West End Plaza. She said Rowan residents who need to visit the Board of Elections for any other reason should go to its office at the county administration building — 130 West Innes Street.

After May 31, the Board of Elections will no longer be located in the county’s administration building, and County Manager Aaron Church said other county employees will move into the space after renovation.

The move may complicate an election that’s already projected to result in minuscule turnout numbers. Several candidates running in North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District race have settled on 5 percent as the turnout number for elections on June 7.

“I don’t think anybody knows there’s an election happening,” Russell said.

Regardless of turnout, the Board of Elections will be open for early voting from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 26, May 27, May 31, June 1, June 2 and June 3. The Board of Elections will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 4.

Same day registration will be permitted during early voting. Photo identification will be required during early voting and on election day.

Races on the ballot include the 13th Congressional District, 8th Congressional District and N.C. Supreme Court Associate Justice. Generally, voters who live south of Salisbury and Mooresville Road or N.C. 150 — a majority of Rowan residents — will cast ballots in the 8th Congressional District. The remainder will vote in the 13th Congressional District race.

The Board of Elections’ move is part of a project initiated by Rowan County commissioners in Dec. 2013, when they purchased the Salisbury Mall. The intention was to move government departments into the facility. Construction work on the first phase of construction, which cost Rowan County about $1.8 million, is nearly complete.

Rowan County Manager Aaron Church said construction work at West End Plaza has progressed smoothly and should cost less than the $1.8 million.

As part of the construction work, Rowan County renovated office space for the Board of Elections and Veterans Services departments. A new roof is also being installed on the West End Plaza.

The Board of Elections will be the first government department to move into the West End Plaza. Veterans Services will move to the West End Plaza in June or early July, according to Church.

It’s unclear which government departments will move to the West End Plaza next. Social Services and the Rowan County Health Department have both been mentioned as possibilities. However, Church said the county’s architect for West End Plaza is currently working to determine how the facility would look with various government departments inside. He said results of the architect’s work will determine where government departments are located and could influence when departments move.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.