Mall, park preserved as city early voting sites
The N.C. State Board of Elections has approved an early voting plan for Guilford County that will keep the two High Point polling locations used in past years.
Early voting, known formally as one-stop absentee voting, will take place in late April and early May at Washington Terrace Park on Gordon Street in east High Point and at Oak Hollow Mall. The two locations have been the early voting polling places in the city for the past several election cycles.
The State Board of Elections, meeting this morning in Raleigh, signed off on an early voting schedule for the county submitted by the Republican majority on the Guilford County Board of Elections. A different Democratic schedule for early voting wasn’t approved. The main difference between the two Guilford County proposals is that the Democratic plan called for early voting on the last Sunday in April leading into the May 6 primary, while the Republican proposal includes no Sunday voting.
Early voting will begin April 24 at eight early voting locations across the county and conclude May 3.
Under a controversial election reform plan passed last year by the Republican-controlled N.C. General Assembly, early voting will begin a week later than in the previous elections. Democrats and liberal activists have criticized the change, saying it’s designed to reduce opportunities to vote. But Republicans, including Gov. Pat McCrory, say the more compact early voting schedule still provides enough time to cast an early ballot before Election Day itself.
The eight early voting locations in Guilford County are the same number as during the last nonpresidential primary four years ago, according to Guilford County elections officials. Two years ago during the presidential primary, 11 early voting sites were used.
Guilford County Elections Director Charlie Collicut said that, unlike previous years, all satellite voting locations in the county will open at the outset of early voting this spring. In the past, the first week’s worth of early voting only took place at the Board of Elections offices in Greensboro and High Point.
By opening all satellite early voting locations sooner, the county Board of Elections will be able to provide a total of 551 voting hours during this spring’s one-stop absentee voting. The county total would exceed the state minimum requirement of 547 available hours during early voting. This election season marks the 14th year for early voting in North Carolina.
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