Early Voting Proposal

The deadline for accepting comments on the Early Voting Proposals has been reached. All comments posted before the deadline have been posted.

Early Voting Proposal Public Comments

July 8, 2020

Plan A allows for more opportunity to vote early on the weekend especially for those who work and have family obligations. Weekends are more convenient.

Bridgett Williams

July 7, 2020

I'm in favor of Proposal A. It provides more opportunities for Cabarrus County citizens to participate in early voting. With more people returning to work, the weekday will likely present as a hardship for many. The added benefit of two additional Saturdays and a Sunday will help to alleviate that problem. Additionally, more weekend opportunities to early vote will hopefully lead to smaller crowds and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Cheryl Lavan

July 7, 2020

Plan B. There are far more than enough opportunities available in Plan B for anyone to cast a vote. Plan A puts undue strain on our county resources at a time we should be tightening our belts not splurging on unnecessary operating days to satisfy an extremely small yet disproportionately vocal minority of the county populous.

Nathan Stone

July 7, 2020

Plan B

Jim DeMay

July 7, 2020

There is no need for Sunday voting.

John Q Public

July 7, 2020

Proposal B

James S Blackwelder

July 7, 2020

Why is there a document attached to Proposal A which makes the case for expanded weekend voting and no similar defense provided for Proposal B? It looks to me as if the chairman of the board of elections has his thumb on the scale. I'm in favor of expanding Saturday voting so long as utilization justifies the cost. I'm not in favor of Sunday voting. If we're not staffing every Saturday for voting, I don't see a good reason to start staffing Sundays at all. Don't force your staff and volunteers to choose between their civic service and their faith. I support Proposal B.

Gregory J. Mills

July 7, 2020

I like Plan B. No Sunday voting. Sunday is a day of worship and rest.

B. Edwards

July 7, 2020

My choice/recommendation is for Plan B....NO SUNDAY VOTING

Oddy Crist

July 7, 2020

Plenty of opportunities to vote in early voting. No need for a Sunday.

Angela Long

July 7, 2020

Plan B is the better plan. There are plenty of hours available for early voting without including Sunday voting. There are more than enough opportunities to vote and consideration must be given to BOE employees as well as candidates to expand even more.

Brenda Brown

July 7, 2020

I support Plan B. Staff at the Cabarrus BOE need a day off and so do candidates’ campaign volunteers. I do not agree with Sunday voting at all. There are plenty of opportunities to vote during Early Voting and Sunday voting is not necessary.

Jennifer Dunbar

July 7, 2020

The more opportunities the better and safer!!!! We need every voice to be heard. Plan B, Too limiting - will be more crowded and not as safe - also harder for essential workers and those with children or elderly to care for to access voting options. Also limits those that might need transportation help etc.

BPC-Cabarrus

July 7, 2020

Plan A: Why do you support or oppose this option? * Support making voting more accessible to all registered citizens. People have a variety of work schedules and may share vehicles with others in their household. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * Limits opportunities for early voting. Having more voting opportunities also improves the ability to social distance.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

Plan A allows more days to vote early, especially for those who work six days. Plan B doesn’t allow Sunday afternoon voting.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

Plan A: Why do you support or oppose this option? * This option allows more time for people to vote additionally people can come and vote after church on a Sunday. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * This would be my second choice as an option. Saturday is always a great option due to the vast majority of people do not work on a Saturday.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

More access to voting and allowing weekend voting times ensure more voters have access to the ballot box. Although plan B it does extend voting abilities, a better option has been provided with plan A.

BPC-Cabarrus

July 7, 2020

I’m in favor of Proposal A because it provides more access to early voting on the weekends and evening hours.

Phil Ashley

July 7, 2020

Plan A: Why do you support or oppose this option? * Weekend options will make voting assessing to individuals that work and care for family/children throughout the week making it difficult to vote on weekday options. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * Oppose, option A provides more voting options.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

Plan A: Why do you support or oppose this option? * More sites that will help with social distancing during the Covid outbreak and two Saturday time slots and one Sunday early voting day. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * Main reason to OPPOSE is only one Saturday voting day and no Sunday.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

Plan A: Why do you support or oppose this option? * I support this option because it allows more opportunity for all citizens to partake in the voting process. As we all plan for the upcoming election, more choice affords us a greater means to adjust our personal schedules and to social distance by providing more options/dates. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * I oppose this option because less dates mean crowding at the polls. Citizens cannot social distance if there is an influx of people due to fewer days available to vote. Additionally, more days means more people can plan so there is maximum participation.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

Plan A: Why do you support or oppose this option? * To give people more time to vote. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * It doesn’t give people extra time if needed to vote.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

Plan A: Why do you support or oppose this option? * I support this plan because it allows more opportunities for those who work long hours to exercise their right to vote. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * I oppose this option because it limits available voting times for those unable to take time off.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

Plan A: Why do you support or oppose this option? * Seems to be obviously safer and will be less crowded. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * Forcing everyone to vote in one day will pack locations.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

Plan A: Why do you support or oppose this option? * People need as much time as possible to have the option to vote. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * This isn't enough time.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

Plan A: Why do you support or oppose this option? * This option provides more opportunities for people to vote. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * This option does not provide enough opportunities for people to vote.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

I support Plan A because it gives people more opportunities to work around work and personal schedules to vote. Until we can make voting a federal holiday we need to make voting easy and accessible to all the people. I oppose Plan B because there are less dates to vote.

BPC-Cabarrus

July 7, 2020

Plan A: Why do you support or oppose this option? * Many people who have non 9-5 jobs rely on Sunday voting and Saturday voting to exercise their constitutional rights. It is irresponsible and negligent in a pandemic to force them to stand in line for hours to exercise their constitutional right. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * Oppose - not enough days or locations.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

I support Plan A. To prevent overcrowding during pandemic conditions, the Cabarrus BOE should provide as many opportunities to vote as possible. Additionally, these weekend dates will make voting more accessible and appealing to folks who can't take a Tuesday off or are unfamiliar with absentee voting. I oppose Plan B. One Saturday is not enough opportunity for folks who have to work certain weekends. And generally we should work as a community to make voting as accessible as possible.

BPC-Cabarrus

July 7, 2020

Plan A: Why do you support or oppose this option? * I support this option because I feel the additional days will help alleviate crowd congestion and allow people to avoid lines and maintain a safer social distance. Also, with employees going back to work, they may not be able to afford taking a day off during the week. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * Oppose - not enough weekend options.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

I support plan A. It gives more people different dates to complete early voting. I like early voting because of voting on Saturdays is very convenient due to my work schedule. I don't support Plan B. It does not provide more than one date to vote. Many residents participate in early voting.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

Plan A: Why do you support or oppose this option? * I support Plan A because it gives more opportunity for people to vote. It just makes sense! Some people only get Sunday off, so this would allow them to vote on that day. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * I oppose this option because it can make it harder for some people to vote, because it limits the weekend hours. The purpose of the Board of Elections should be to give as many people as many opportunities to cast ballots as possible. It's that simple.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

Plan A offers citizens the best chance to social distance by offering three early voting opportunities. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * Oppose

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

Plan A: Why do you support or oppose this option? * As Americans, we deserve the opportunity to allow as many citizens the chance to have our voices be heard. The number one way we do this is with our vote. The additional Saturday and the Sunday will allow greater chances for the electorate to exercise their hard fought for right to vote. This election will be difficult due to social distancing and lines will probably be much longer on Election Day. Please, Board, allow us the chance to have as many people participate as possible. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * This seems to simply be a method to limit voting opportunities. I understand why certain people want to keep turnout light...we've seen it across the country already. Cabarrus County is, or should be, better than that.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

I support Plan A because access to voting isn't just about the numbers of hours in availability. Access to voting is about having hours that work for the voters. Having access to early voting on Saturday AND Sunday is very important. It better facilitates access to people who work every week day. Saturday voting has always historically been the busiest day of voting in terms of votes per hour. This year more than any other, it is important to expand these hours because of the impacts of the pandemic. Having more options will help reduce risk of infection as increased access will discourage individuals from crowding in on one day. Or worse, discourage people from voting for fear of infection. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * This option is quite literally the least we could do. I don't support it. We can do better than this.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

Plan A: Why do you support or oppose this option? * On the weekends the churches can help those who don't have private transportation to get to the polls. Volunteers have more flexibility on the weekends. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * Plan B will limit the number of rides volunteers can assist with. It's not enough time and it's going to lower voter turn out. If we really wanted to help with voter turn out we would offer early voting every weekend.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

Plan A: Why do you support or oppose this option? * Oppose no sites in MP or Midland Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * Oppose No sites in MP or Midland Election should be a national holiday. With modern transportation there is no need for early voting but if earlier voting is allowed it should be easily accessible in all municipalities and at BOE Office.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

Saturday voting times are needed for many of our working citizens. In addition, Sunday is often the only day off for some or the only day they may be able to obtain transportation. The purpose of early voting is to be as inclusive as possible and offer the most citizens the greatest opportunity to vote. Plan A is the best option for reaching that goal. Plan B: One Saturday does not provide enough opportunity for many with varying work schedules to vote. Therefore, I oppose this option.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

Plan A: Why do you support or oppose this option? * I support this option because it is the one that allows more opportunities for working class residents to participate in the election process. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * I oppose this option because it is a setup for long lines, technology malfunctions, etc. which will discourage eligible voters from participating in the election process.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

I support plan A because it allows for greater opportunity and access to voting. I oppose plan B because it only allows one Saturday. Should have at minimum two Saturdays for early voting.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

Plan A: Why do you support or oppose this option? * More opportunities to get out and vote. Less people at polls. I support plan A because the more dates the better. Cuts down on people and potential covid exposure. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * Too few opportunities.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

More opportunities to vote is always better! If we are going to give people the opportunity to vote early we need to provide as many opportunities as possible for those who work during the week to vote without ridiculously long lines on the weekend. Why limit it to one weekend date? Feels arbitrary.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

I strongly support Plan A! Plan A provides more opportunities to vote especially for people who have to work during the weekdays. Plus, it allows us to take into consideration the CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19. People's health should be our priority. Plan B: I strongly oppose this option! It does not provide sufficient opportunities to cast my ballot. We should be offering people as many opportunities as possible to adhere to the CDC guidelines. Plan B is a means of suppressing the vote in disguise.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

I support Plan A. Plan A provides more weekend opportunities to vote. I do NOT support Plan B as it provides limited weekend voting opportunity.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

Plan A: Why do you support or oppose this option? * I support this plan because it allows voters to have two Saturdays and a Sunday to vote, thus giving them more options to vote. It also allows more flexibility during the voting season which only happens once per year for three weeks. Plan B: Why do you support or oppose this option? * I oppose this plan due to it only allowing access to the polls mostly during weekday times. This is a form of systematic oppression.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

I support Early Voting Proposal A - Having at least one Sunday voting option will support the populations who work long weekdays and weekends. Working class families with young children, minimum transportation options and who have a "must work weekends" schedule and or long work days will be limited to one Sunday to vote. Sundays are traditionally less busy and more family focused. Voting is a citizen right and voting as a family can increase voting turnout, and enhance our local government and community involvement. Due to COVID-19 I ask that you DO consider those who will be impacted and possibly intimidated by standing in large crowds, possibly longer wait times if sites are closed or limited. Allow Sunday to be a choice for myself and other citizens.

Monica Fuller Johnson

July 7, 2020

I support Plan A because it allows for equitable accessibility for citizens of Cabarrus County to vote regardless of financial status, disability, race, or political party. This option offers weekend (including a Sunday) voting giving those who work during the week, several opportunities to cast their votes. I oppose Plan B because it is restrictive, our current climate calls for us to engage in more inclusive actions. This option fails to ensure everyone is able to vote.

Anonymous

July 7, 2020

I support Plan A because access to voting isn't just about the numbers of hours in availability. Access to voting is about having hours that work for the voters. Having access to early voting on Saturday AND Sunday is very important. It better facilitates access to people who work every week day. Saturday voting has always historically been the busiest day of voting in terms of votes per hour. This year more than any other, it is important to expand these hours because of the impacts of the pandemic. Having more options will help reduce risk of infection as increased access will discourage individuals from crowding in on one day. Or worse, discourage people from voting for fear of infection. Plan B: No, there are not amply opportunities for the community to vote.

BPC-Cabarrus

July 7, 2020

I prefer Plan A because it gives working adults a better opportunity to cast their votes on weekends. With the current pandemic it is important we spread out voting as much as possible to avoid crowds. And the working adults in the county are valuable voices in our government, and voting should not cost people productive hours and loss of income to exercise their rights.

Shannon McLaurin

July 7, 2020

I am against Sunday voting in any shape or form. With early voting, people (voters) have more than ample and reasonable time to cast their vote.

Angela Long

July 7, 2020

Proposal A is the best proposal. More days means more people can vote at their convenience, especially on weekends and having a high voter turnout lends more credibility to our democracy and the results of the elections. Secondly, if Cabarrus County is still facing the current COVID-19 Pandemic, then Plan A lowers concentrations of voters because it spaces out opportunities to vote. Proposal B creates a situation where you have a single, Saturday period which means every Saturday/Weekend voter will visit the same location that day increasing concentration of people voting, registering, and waiting to vote. Give people more choices and make it safer to vote by choosing Proposal A.

Philip Curley

July 7, 2020

I prefer plan A More opportunities to vote.

Joyce Dalphine Brown

July 7, 2020

Support Plan A which allows for more early voting.

Lenora Adams-Tibbs

July 7, 2020

I am in favor of Proposal A due to the amount of dates available for early voting.

Daniel Squirewell

July 7, 2020

Plan A

Kimberly Fawcett

July 7, 2020

Plan A seems to give the best opportunity for all County citizens to vote. I think including time to vote during the weekend allows citizens to get their voices heard via the polls. Considering some people have work obligations and child care concerns that could prevent them from getting to polls during the week. It will show Cabarrus' commitment to guaranteeing that everyone has the opportunity to vote despite work and other family obligations.

Cabarrus County Black Political Caucus

July 7, 2020

I, Coretta Grant, fully support Early Voting Proposal A. Proposal A is another opportunity to encourage voter participation. Proposal A also accommodates essential workers who work nontraditional hours of 0630-1930 during the weekdays a great option as an additional day to vote.

Coretta Grant

July 7, 2020

I am in favor of Plan A because it provides additional opportunities for citizens to vote.

Betty Stocks

July 7, 2020

Given the fact that we lag behind peer counties in offering weekend voting options it is a no brained to me that we need to step up. Given the concerns of the pandemic expanding early voting as much as possible is the wise and reasonable thing to do. It should be easier, not harder for all people to cast their vote safely.

Toni Ruth Smith

June 7, 2020

Early voting plan A.

Angela Smith

July 7, 2020

Plan A

Lenora Adams-Tibbs

July 7, 2020

I think it is very important to use proposal A for voting in Cabarrus County. All voices should be heard and voting must be encouraged with opportunities to vote expanded. Convenience and options for dates makes this more likely with very busy and complicated life styles.

Mary Ann Johnson

July 6, 2020

Please implement Early Voting Plan A so that as many people as possible are able to vote in the 2020 general election. It is important that all citizens have ample opportunity to cast their ballot.

Shelley McElroy Williams

July 6, 2020

I prefer plan A . Plan A works well for my schedule.

Crystal Z. Franklin

July 6, 2020

Plan A, more opportunities to vote.

Brian Floyd

July 6, 2020

It is my understanding that the Board of Elections is considering two options for early voting for our upcoming November election. One includes two Saturdays and a Sunday. I would suggest we adopt that option. There are many citizens who are unable to get to the polls during the week due to work commitments or lack of access. Additional weekend hours would give them more options to find additional ways to get there. At a time when these options have been very politicized in our country, it would be my hope that Cabarrus County would set the example of allowing more options, rather than less.

Barbi Jones

July 6, 2020

I would like to see proposals A go through. The more options and access to vote the better for our community to have an opportunity to exercise their right.

Connie Rheinecker

July 6, 2020

Proposal A is best.

Stephanie Fiedler

July 6, 2020

Plan A. Please add as many hours as possible.

Kathy Hoffman Taylor

July 6, 2020

It appears that Plan A would enable greater opportunities for in-person early voting, and this would be my preference. Also, I note that Cabarrus has only 4 early voting sites, very modest for a county of our size. For example, Union (slightly larger) routinely has 7 sites and Rowan (smaller) has 5. I believe that Cabarrus County could do better, especially during a year in which a pandemic will require social distancing and probably more time waiting to vote. Please consider.

Jeffrey L. Crook

July 6, 2020

Please consider implementing Proposal A. While I have the luxury of voting at almost anytime, I am certain many of my neighbors don't have that due to work and/or family commitments. By adding an additional Saturday and Sunday, this opens this precious opportunity to many who may not have it or traditional means to get to polls. We need to think of what's best for our whole community; not just those who have easy access.

Barbara Smith Jones

July 6, 2020

As I commented during today's conference call, I very strongly feel there there is currently no voter suppression in Cabarrus County. Any registered voter has ample opportunity to voter either in person or via absentee ballot. As noted by Mr. White, the real issue is voter participation in general. We have continually expanded in person voter opportunities in recent years, yet voter numbers are not growing - and in fact with each "open" day, we simply shift current voters from one day (or absentee ballot) to another.

Secondly, whomever commented that they have plenty of volunteers, I'm sure the BOE would appreciate having those folks participate as precinct/early voting officials, as in my experience (as I noted in my oral comment) it is a constant battle to get enough election officials, especially for weekend hours. 1 shift at one (early open) polling place would require a minimum of 6 individuals.

I fully endorse Plan B.

Mary Stewart (Missy) deSouza

July 6, 2020

While we cannot predict the future, I feel that we can be prepared without planning for total panic or total disrruption of our rights and duties. I feel that we have enough opportunities for everyone to vote within Plan B. Regardless of working or family situations there are enough hours and days contained within Plan B to make it possible for those who are willing to vote to do so.

Frank W Rush, Treasurer Cabarrus Republican Party

July 6, 2020

When reviewing the Proposed Early Voting Plan A for the 2020 General Election, I was struck by the numerous opportunities for voters to cast their vote during weekdays from early morning to mid-evening (12 days at 11.5 hours per day) and by the virtual lack of voting opportunity on Sunday (one day for 5 hours) on 10/25/20. Another way to view this is there are 23 hours of weekday openings for every one hour on a Sunday. Seems terribly out-of-balance for people who have to work and care for children during the week or those who have to rely on others to provide transportation to the polls.

One way to right this imbalance would be to trade one weekday opening (or possibly even two) for an added Sunday, say the Sunday before Election Day (11/3/20). Even if only open for the standard 5 hours on this additional Sunday, instead of a 23:1 weekday to Sunday ratio, it would lessen to 13:1, a sizeable improvement for working people (especially those with children) and our impaired mobility citizens.

Dorsey Ward, Precinct 12-05

July 6, 2020

Thank you for the opportunity to listen and comment on July 6, 2020. Plan A is my choice for all valid the reasons submitted.

I do have concerns about absentee voting. This is the first time that I have planned to absentee vote. Here are the challenges:

  1. Obtaining the form to request a ballot: I have a printer at home and computer access, so I was able to locate the request, print it and mail it to the board. Many struggle with this access that some take for granted.
  2. Errors can occur: I had left an item unfilled and my ballot request was returned to me for correction. I had to resubmit the request.
  3. Follow through: I am full of hope that now I will receive my ballot in the mail and then be able return it in a timely manner.

Not everyone is empowered in the same way. Some struggle with the process as it requires some advantages such as information, ability and determination to complete the sequence of steps required.

It is my understanding that often our minds are made up prior to listening to others, filtering the words through their own biases. Have you considered that your biases may be interfering with reaching a logical conclusion?

Mr. Lanny Lancaster’s polling of his own Facebook friends opinions on this, certainly leaves out many who would tend to befriend Sunday voting. Mr. Lancaster, I was astonished to hear your public proclamation of your own biased pole.

Please pause to think, take a step back and reconsider your choice before making a decision. We would be a proud county to have our own Board of Elections reach a conclusion of unanimity. I can only hope you will. It’s in your court.

Carol Anderson

July 6, 2020

I’m writing to encourage the Board of Elections to please adopt Early Voting Plan A for the 2020 general election. Because if the need to social distance during COVID -19 pandemic, we must ensure there are ample opportunities for voting to allow the most people possible to vote at the times that work best for them. Those who are single parents, those who work long weekday hours, those who have transportation issues, etc should be given multiple options when early voting is available so they can find a slot that works for their needs.

Shelley McElroy Williams

July 6, 2020

I would like to request that you choose option A (two Saturdays and one Sunday early voting). The ability to vote is crucial to an operating democracy. Many people are unable to vote on weekdays or election day due to their work schedules, and thus restricting early voting amounts to disenfranchisement. Please ensure that Cabarrus County is on the right side of history by doing what you can to safeguard the ability of the public to participate in elections.

Kathy L. Pilkington

July 6, 2020

I would like to request that you choose option A (two Saturdays and one Sunday early voting). The ability to vote is crucial to an operating democracy. Many people are unable to vote on weekdays or election day due to their work schedules, and thus restricting early voting amounts to disenfranchisement. Please ensure that Cabarrus County is on the right side of history by doing what you can to safeguard the ability of the public to participate in elections.

Pam Smith

July 6, 2020

I would like to request that you choose option A (two Saturdays and one Sunday early voting). The ability to vote is crucial to an operating democracy. Many people are unable to vote on weekdays or election day due to their work schedules, and thus restricting early voting amounts to disenfranchisement. Please ensure that Cabarrus County is on the right side of history by doing what you can to safeguard the ability of the public to participate in elections.

Ashley Schoppe

July 6, 2020

I am in support of option A - expanding early voting days to include two Saturdays and one Sunday.

Megan Shuping

July 2, 2020

I spoke at the prior meeting for our primary election in favor of Sunday voting for our early voting plan. It wasn’t implemented. My husband Bob has asked to speak this time and so I am writing to you. It is my determination that we provide an opportunity for all of our citizens to vote on a Sunday during early voting. This will bring us into alignment with our peer counties across the state and enable our citizens with the fullest opportunity to participate. Please acknowledge this request and implement it.

Carol Anderson

July 1, 2020

Clearly plan A is preferred. During the COVID crisis it would be helpful if some statistics about the traffic through the sites by day and hour in past elections would help keep it easier to maintain social distancing.

Anonymous

June 30, 2020

I want to note the difficulty in having early voting days limited to workdays. There is significant evidence that weekday voting is particularly challenging for single parents, students and citizens who work multiple jobs.

I understand that there is some objection to holding early voting on Sunday as it is a religious day. This is not the case for all citizens in this country. Those of Jewish faith mark the Sabbath from Friday evenings at sundown until Saturday at sundown. Assuming that Sunday is a religious day for all citizens and should therefore be excluded as a possible day for early voting suggests a lack of awareness about the actual religious diversity of this county which is troubling.

Rabbi Barbara Thiede, Temple Or Olam

June 26, 2020

I like proposal A the best because of weekend availability and the hours.

Anonymous

June 24, 2020

As the November elections draw closer, it has become abundantly clear the necessity to offer more available times for members of our community to vote.

With the number of COVID-19 cases continuously rising and more essential workers being diagnosed, providing every citizen of Cabarrus County the opportunity and time to vote, should be the Board of Elections Primary focus.

As we do not currently know where we will be in November, being able to plan and prepare for every citizen of Cabarrus County to vote in a timely manner without long wait times while providing space for social distancing is essential for our local government and election processes.

We are advocating for the following for every citizen of Cabarrus County:

  1. Three Saturday dates for early voting at all primary early voting locations within each municipality
  2. One to Two Sunday afternoon dates with times from 12 – 5p for early voting at all primary early voting locations within each municipality


We will continue to advocate for these to ensure every citizen of Cabarrus County has the opportunity and time to vote.

Black Political Caucus of Cabarrus County

June 18, 2020

We write to you today to provide you with information that we believe will assist you in developing an early voting plan that best serves the constituents of your county. We recognize that the challenge that faces you and your staff - conducting a safe and fully participatory election during a global pandemic - is one of the greatest magnitude, and we want to help you confront that challenge with as many resources and as much support as possible.

Executive Summary

As discussed in more detail below, based on voting and demographic data specific to Cabarrus County and in anticipation of the challenges introduced by the ongoing public health crisis, we recommend for the upcoming general election that the Board (i) maintain at minimum 4 early voting sites as it did in 2016 and as noted in the Cabarrus County Board of Election’s proposed early voting plan created by Chair Ericson, (ii) ensure that early voting sites at least include the Cabarrus County Board of Elections Office and Concord Fire Station #9 as noted in the proposed plan, and (iii) keep the extra Saturday and Sunday of voting in Chair Ericson’s proposed plan, or add further weekend voting days.

Over the coming months, our team of advocates will work with civic engagement organizations, faith groups, and community leaders to solicit feedback on early voting sites. These individuals will attend Board of Election meetings, provide public comment, and may reach out to you with questions and requests. We will also incorporate this information into future early Voting plan recommendations.

The COVID-19 Pandemic and Potential Changes to State Law

All North Carolinians - voters and election administrators alike - are facing unprecedented circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The North Carolina State Board of Elections has predicted that absentee-bymail voting in this year’s general election could hit 40%, up from only 4% in 2016. Assuming that number is accurate for planning purposes, that means that a majority of voters will still vote in-person. However, unlike in previous years, election officials and poll workers now have social distancing and disinfectant procedures to take into account when conducting early in-person voting. This means that, even if in-person voting during the early voting period will be lower than in 2016, offering more sites and days is more critical than ever to keep in-person voting safe and prevent voters who are socially distancing from turning away from the polls due to long lines and crowding. For public health reasons, counties should be seeking to have enough sites and days for in-person voting to keep the rate of voters (voters per hour per site) low so that voters can maintain distance while waiting to vote and to ensure that poll workers have time to employ proper disinfecting procedures between voters. This will not be possible if there are too many voters seeking to use an early voting site at one time.

Additionally, we urge you to at least make contingency plans for an early voting period unencumbered by current state law, which is under challenge. Democracy North Carolina (“DemNC”) is a plaintiff (represented by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (“SCSJ”) among others) challenging certain aspects of the current statutory election scheme as creating an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote in light of the current public health crisis. The part of that lawsuit most relevant here is our challenge to the uniform hours requirement, created by Senate Bill 325 in 2018 and in effect in the 2018 general election and 2020 primary elections (in addition to intervening municipal elections). We are seeking to have this law (and others) enjoined for the 2020 general election to allow county boards the flexibility to offer more sites when more voters are expected to turn out to vote (and thus reduce lines and wait times and increase the efficacy of public health measures) and not waste
precious county resources keeping early voting sites open at hours it is known that voters will not utilize.

We understand that the imposition of the uniform hours requirement has made it more difficult for county boards, including yours, to craft an early voting plan that best serves the geographic and demographic needs of your county, and that maintaining sites when all sites have to be open the same days and hours can have a significant budgetary impact on your county. The number of early voting sites in Cabarrus County, in 2014 and 2018 remained the same with 4 early voting sites. In the litigation described above, our goal is to avoid any reduction due to the uniform hours requirement.

That being said, even with those unnecessary restrictions, we believe that it still remains your duty to ensure that all voters in your county have easy access to one-stop early voting sites and times, regardless of the outcome of the litigation. We recognize that by having to keep every site open a certain number of hours each day during the weekdays, and having to have all sites open if any site is open on the weekend, could create some financial challenges for the county, but the cost of a fair and accessible democracy can never be too high.

We understand that for many counties, one of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic has been budget concerns and potential shortfalls. Without dismissing the challenge that presents you as an election board, we urge you to remember that access to the franchise is both the central service offered by counties and mandated by state and federal law. If counties do not conduct an election that allows full and safe participation, accountability and oversight on other budgetary decisions will be impeded. We know that the county boards of elections do not set budgets, but your county commission is obligated to fully fund your efforts to conduct an election compliant with all federal and state constitutional and statutory demands. See N.C.G.S. § 163-37 (requiring county commission to “appropriate reasonable and adequate funds necessary for the legal functions of the county board of elections, including reasonable and just compensation of the director of elections”); see also, NC SBOE Numbered Memorandum 2016-06; Graham County Board of Elections v. Graham County Board of Commissioners, 212 N.C. App. 313, 712 S.E.2d 372 (N.C. App. June 7, 2011) (holding that the grant of authority to the county commission on budget issues is limited by more specific statutory delegations of authority to the county board of elections). If the county commission provides inadequate funding, they are in violation of state law and can be forced to make the necessary appropriations. And, while the county board of elections can go back to the county commission with further evidence of financial shortfalls in conducting elections and request further appropriations, see N.C.G.S. § 159-15, the burden of doing so while conducting an election during a pandemic is significant. To the extent the Board of Elections is predicting near-certain costs now, the County Commission should make appropriations to address those needs rather than burden the Board of Elections later.

The proposed FY 2021 budget contains an almost 23% decrease in funding for the Cabarrus County Board of Elections (“Board”). The Board had a budget of $1,397,783 in FY 2020, and now the proposed budget is $1,084,213.1 Given the fact that epidemiologists are predicting that there will be a second outbreak of COVID-19 in the fall, steps must be taken now to avoid the shortages in polling place supplies and adequate printing costs—otherwise, the County could be responsible for the massive disenfranchisement of many potential voters. As stated above, Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell is already predicting a 10-fold increase in the number of absentee voters this year, so there is going to be a dire need for printed absentee request forms and ballots this year. The Board and Cabarrus County Commissioners must be careful to ensure that voters will be able to adequately vote by mail and in-person and the County Commissioners must provide the necessary and adequate resources to ensure that this occurs. Additionally, pending passage of the county budget, Cabarrus County will be updating its voting machines. It will be important that there are funds in the budget to troubleshoot any issues with the machines and also funds to ensure that there will be adequate training for poll workers as to how to use these machines, such that Cabarrus County does not run into issues with the new machines like counties in Georgia recently did.

We strongly urge that, notwithstanding the additional cost, the county treat the 4 sites offered during the 2016 election as the baseline number of sites that should be offered this election, as currently proposed in the Chair Ericson’s early voting plan. We recognize that this may require going back to the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners to readdress the budget for this election: please keep in mind that we believe the North Carolina State Board of Elections has the authority to force you to offer additional voting sites and hours if there is no unanimous plan and the plans under consideration by the county board offer too few voting opportunities in ways that may, for instance, disproportionately disadvantage voters of color. The more prudent course of action is to plan on offering a fulsome early voting plan now, and not be forced to scramble last minute to cover costs if the State Board requires you to offer more hours or sites.

However, we do recognize that budgetary concerns may still come into play. With that in mind, we think there are several priorities this Board should embrace in the reconsideration of an early voting plan for the November 2020 election, particularly as public health, financial and litigation situations become more clear.

1. Prioritizing Highly Used Sites with Near High Concentrations of Voters

It will be very important that this Board is completely funded such that it may offer voters the same four early voting sites that were offered in 2016. We ask that this Board take efforts to secure as much funding as possible to continue operating as many early voting sites as possible. Additionally, we request that the Board undertake both a data-driven and community-informed process in deciding which sites to open or to remain open if necessary. Attached, in Exhibit A, is a chart that details the sites utilized in the 2016 general election, and in Exhibit B, a chart that details the early voting sites in 2018. While of course some sites available in 2016 or other previous elections may no longer be available, either due to COVID-19 or other extenuating circumstances, the popularity of certain sites is still informative.

Based on sheer usage alone in 2016, it is clear that the Board must certainly continue to offer the Cabarrus County Board of Elections Office and the Concord Fire Station #9, as early voting sites which are included in Chair Ericson’s proposed early voting plan. But the usage numbers ought to be further informed by community perspectives and it is important that Cabarrus County can keep its 4 early sites to the extent possible.

Finally, looking at the attached geographic dispersal of the Cabarrus County early voting sites in 2016 (Exhibit C) and 2018 (Exhibit D), when compared to the precincts with the highest number of voters in 2016 (Exhibit E) and 2018 (Exhibit F), Cabarrus Black Voters by Precinct in 2016 (Exhibit G) and 2018 (Exhibit H) and Cabarrus LatinX Voters by Precinct in 2016 (Exhibit I), and 2018 (Exhibit J), it is important to have the early voting sites located in the same general areas in which they were located in 2016. Having the early voting sites in the same general areas as 2016 will help to allow as many voters as possible to cast their ballot.

Prioritizing Days that Cabarrus County Voters Have Shown to Prefer and that Have Black Voter Usage

Secondly, we also strongly recommend that you prioritize offering fulsome voting hours on days that are both highly utilized by voters in the county overall and that Black voters disproportionately use. This does two things: (1) ensures that the county is not wasting money and is operating early voting sites in a manner likely to reduce lines and wait times on Election Day, and (2) minimizes any burden on Black voters that might give rise to claims under the Voting Rights Act.

It is important to note that the more early voting sites there are, the less time people have to stand in line potentially exposing themselves to COVID-19. Additionally, below is a table noting the percentage of Black voters during each day of early voting during the 2016 election. This data shows that Black voters consistently voted during each day of early voting. Thus, keeping as many early voting sites open as possible is of paramount importance. Further, adding one Sunday of early voting and a second Saturday of early voting (as noted in Chair Ericson’s early voting plan), is a good start in allowing more voters to cast ballots, specifically highlighting the high percentage of Black voter turnout on the last Saturday of early voting. It is important to keep these added dates and to add more if possible.

If you have any questions as you consider early voting plans (for the first time or revising them in light of litigation), or should you be unable to agree on a unanimous plan, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Our goal is to ensure that the one-stop early voting plan adopted by or ordered into effect for Cabarrus County is one that ensures that voters are able to safely access their fundamental right to vote notwithstanding the current public health crisis.

Allison Riggs, Interim Executive Director & Chief Counsel, Voting Rights, Southern Coalition for Social Justice
Jeff Loperfido, Senior Counsel, Voting Rights, Southern Coalition for Social Justice
Mitchell Brown, Counsel, Voting Rights, Southern Coalition for Social Justice
Alissa Ellis, Advocacy Director, Democracy North Carolina

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