• 84°

My turn, George W. Benson: Ensure safe, free, fair elections

By George W. Benson

Let me say right off the bat I am very honored to be representing the more than 140,000 citizens of Rowan County on the Board of Elections, many of whom feel they have never had a chance to be represented in any form of government. 

  During this extraordinary time of COVID-19 and with a need to implement the safest, fairest, most free election, the county board had the foresight to request a budget to the county commissioners for the funds for this election. 

The commissioners denied this proposed budget opting to provide some $200,000 dollars less. The state and federal governments are providing COVID-19 relief funds to offset the difference. 

  The request to have Sunday voting has been going on for years but in today’s world it started in late February with fervor and continued through last week’s meeting. Citizens showed up to several meetings to comment and request Sunday voting. At least two meetings, the crowd was so large the meeting room was overflowing and citizens were standing in the office and hallway. Comments in favor of Sunday voting were made orally and by email by dozens and dozens of citizens. Opposing views were minimal at best. Reasons given for Sunday voting were providing safe and secure elections, shorter lines, better opportunities for citizens to vote and just the plain fact that voting needs to be available to all as much as possible. 

A group of nonpartisan Rowan County voters approached me and asked me to present a plan which included Sunday voting to our county board. The plan called for 11 hours of weekend voting, which included four hours of Sunday voting. 

During the March primary, 27 counties permitted Sunday voting. This bring us to the point of why several plans were discussed for this election. The state board has mandated voting locations be open 10 hours on the weekend. State law mandates certain voting days and hours must be in any plan.  

  Last week, the Rowan County Board of Elections had the opportunity to provide the citizens of Rowan the optimum plan for a safe and secure election — an election that every registered voter in Rowan can and should participate. A safe, fair, free election provides one the chance to have a say in how your government provides services for one’s family. The electoral process protects democracy. 

Your board failed to agree on a unanimous plan, even when a compromise plan meeting state requirement was proposed. N.C. statutes mandate a unanimous plan be approved or the State Board of Elections will dictate the plan to be implemented. 

The county board voted on three plans, and none passed unanimously.

  People say this will be the most important election in our lifetime. Your county board and staff are striving to provide the fairest and safest election possible. The time is unprecedented, opportunities are limitless, history will be made. 

Have your say in that history. Vote.

  

George W. Benson is a member of the Rowan County Board of Elections. 

Comments

Crime

Blotter: Gold Hill man charged with statutory rape

Crime

Man charged with killing 28-year-old found dead in crashed car

Crime

68-year-old woman identified as Jackson Street murder victim

Crime

Man arrested in Jacksonville for Salisbury murder

Local

Rowan-Salisbury Schools finalizes normal, five-day schedule for fall

Local

Council to vote on budget, consider permit for child care center near downtown

Landis

Landis adopts budget with reduction in residential electric rates, no tax increases

Local

Political Notebook: Budd campaign touts boost in voter support after Trump endorsement

Local

Seventh Dragon Boat Festival scheduled July 24

News

NC rights groups say GOP bills impede voting access

Local

Sgt. Shane Karriker’s funeral procession travels through downtown Salisbury

Crime

Blotter: June 14

Ask Us

Ask Us: When will front entrance to courthouse reopen?

Coronavirus

As COVID-19 cases wane, vaccine-lagging areas still at risk

Crime

Blotter: Man faces litany of charges for fleeing sheriff’s deputies

Granite Quarry

‘Race to the Dan’ brings Revolutionary War back to Rowan

Local

‘Unity in the Community’ event brings together Salisbury Police, NAACP

Crime

One killed, two others shot on South Jackson Street in Salisbury

Crime

State examining Davidson County emergency alert received in Rowan, other counties

Local

Cleveland Rodeo packs house for 10th year

News

Salisbury’s Jacques Belliveau talks mental health, filming during premiere of ‘Reggie: A Millennial Depression Comedy’

News

Sen. Ford backs new set of election-related bills

Business

Downtown Salisbury bullish on potential for more residential space

Business

Biz Roundup: Wine about Winter set for June 18