You can download our guide that will help you influence the hours and locations your county offers voters during Early Voting. A new law has reduced the number of days for Early Voting (“EV”) from 17 to 10. With fewer days and other voting changes, lines at the polls could be longer than usual. Strong Early Voting plans, with evening and weekend voting hours (including Sunday), are the key to making sure major elections go smoothly.
What’s an Early Voting Plan?
Importantly, the new law says a county must offer as many Early Voting hours in 2016 as it offered in the 2012 election; it must fit all the hours it provided in 17 days into just 10 days. Meeting that challenge will require more EV sites, longer hours, or both. Counties may decrease their Early Voting hours from the 2012 level, but only if all members of the County and State Boards of Elections unanimously agree. This requirement to squeeze 17 days of hours into 10 days gives you leverage in advocating for a strong Early Voting plan.
All 100 County Boards of Elections create their own Early Voting plans. Many county boards will discuss the hours and locations for Early Voting sites for the March 2016 primary in November and December. They will finalize plans for the fall election in the summer. In odd years, discussions are harder to follow because cities with elections pay part of the expense for opening sites.
All County Elections Boards have two Republicans and one Democrat (by law, the governor’s party gets the majority of seats). If the county’s Early Voting plan is not approved by all three Board members, any Board member can submit an alternative plan to the State Board, which has the final authority. The power of one Board member to block a reduction of hours or submit an alternative plan is another point of leverage for you.
What Can I Do?
It’s vitally important to attend Board meetings, get to know the Board members and speak out! Here are guidelines for actions, depending your time to organize.
Download the full guide to advocating for a strong early voting plan in your county »