Rowan elections board schedules meeting in response to court ruling

Published 12:05 am Thursday, August 11, 2016

By Josh Bergeron

The Rowan County Board of Elections has called a meeting for Friday to discuss a voting plan for November’s general election.

The meeting comes as local boards of elections approve voting plans that correspond with a federal court ruling that invalidated a 2013 law. At 8 a.m. on Friday, Rowan County’s board will specifically consider how to extend early voting hours for November’s election.

The meeting will be at the Board of Elections office at West End Plaza — 1935 Jake Alexander Boulevard.

In July, the Rowan County Board of Elections approved an early voting plan that placed polling locations in Salisbury, Cleveland, Spencer, Rockwell and China Grove. Salisbury had two early voting locations — the Rowan Public Library Headquarters and West End Plaza.

According to the State Board of Elections, options for complying with the federal court ruling include: extending early voting hours by seven days at all sites; only adding early voting hours at West End Plaza; adopting a completely new plan with early voting hours at the county board office and other sites; and having early voting only at West End Plaza.

If the Rowan County Board of Elections doesn’t take action on an early voting plan by August 19, the state would automatically set early voting only during regular business hours and on Nov. 5 until 1 p.m. at West End Plaza          

When the Rowan County Board of Elections approved its voting plan in July, local Democrats, pastors and staff at Livingstone College lobbied for expanded early voting. One proposal, for example, was early voting on Sunday, which would allow churches to bring congregations to the polls. The Republican-controlled board of elections shot the idea down.

Besides early voting hours, the recent federal court ruling also removes a requirement that voters show photo ID and voters can cast provisional ballots at any precinct.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.