WHAT: Despite the recent federal court ruling against voting restrictions, the Republican majority on the Guilford County Board of Elections (Greensboro) wants to reduce the 2016 Early Voting plan from what the county offered in 2012.
On Monday, August 8, the Board will take up and likely vote on a plan that would:
- cut by nearly half the number of Early Voting sites provided in 2012, including most sites inside Greensboro;
- completely eliminate Sunday voting;
- cut the popular site in the African-American community at Barber Park; and
- eliminate the sites at UNC-Greensboro and NC A&T University.
WHEN: The three-member Guilford County Board of Elections is holding a special meeting on Monday, August 8, at 1 p.m. to consider this plan by the two Republicans, as well as a proposal from the lone Democrat on the Board. A majority vote carries the day.
August 8 is two days after the 51st anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act.
WHERE: The meeting with be in the Blue Room at 301 W Market St., Greensboro 27401 (the Old County Courthouse).
WHO: Community members, religious leaders, voting-rights groups, and others will be on hand to protest this sinister attempt to thwart the will of the court.
WHY: The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling restored the old statute requiring a 17-day period of Early Voting instead of 10 days. Most large counties opened numerous Early Voting sites but that old statute required only one be open. The law that the court struck down included a requirement that counties open sites over 10 days for at least as many hours as they provided over 17 days in 2012; that squeeze of hours into 10 days pushed counties to open more sites during weekend and evening hours. Now, using the restored law, county boards of elections are free to use “local discretion” to serve voters or preserve discrimination, much as local boards used tactics like making African Americans guess the number of marbles in a jar or recite the Preamble to the Constitution in order to register to vote.
All 100 counties will be making Early Voting plans in the next two weeks. Guilford County is the first we know to meet – and it will be a very contentious meeting that dramatizes the conflicting interests involved in North Carolina’s ongoing war over the right to vote. It happens two days after the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act in the city where four NC A&T students began the civil rights sit-in movement.
Ironically, a terrible Early Voting plan can create longer lines for the excited voters who want to vote early – which could be white Republican men this year, as it was in North Carolina in 2010. A bad plan will also create longer lines and put more stress on Election Day, which harms all voters.
CONTACT: Democracy North Carolina – Bob Hall at 919-489-1931 or Jen Jones at 919-260-5905.