I've been a strong advocate for early voting locations and hours in Orange County that provide adequate access for all Orange County residents in my time as a student and council member in Chapel Hill. I'm sharing below my open letter to the Board of Elections as they make decisions this week about early voting locations for this fall. Interested in making your voice heard about early voting? They'll be meeting tomorrow (July 21st) at the Board of Elections in Hillsborough at noon to determine early voting hours and locations for this fall.
Dear Orange County Board of Elections,
As you consider potential early voting locations and hours for the 2015 election, I wanted to offer some thoughts and recommendations. As always, thank you for your thoughtful approach to and deliberative process in setting an early voting calendar.
Early voting should continue to encompass a wide range of dates and flexible hours for Orange County citizens to vote. Many Orange County residents work outside of our county, so providing early voting after 5 pm on weekdays and on weekends increases the accessibility for many in our community. Last year, early voting occurred on weekdays at the Board of Elections in Hillsborough from 9 am to 5 pm, and at all other locations in the county from 12 pm until 7 pm. I hope you will continue to hold early voting during these time periods.
Early voting should continue to be held on Saturday, and ideally would be expanded to Sundays. Residents in our county have diverse work hours. Providing early voting all seven days of the week makes it simpler for all citizens to participate in our democracy.
The early voting locations should be spread across the county and should include at least one location north of Hillsborough and at least one location on or adjacent to UNC’s campus. You have heard from me before about the importance of including a site that is accessible to the faculty, staff, and students of UNC. Because of construction and other changes on UNC’s campus, it has been difficult to find a consistent site for early voting. As you consider possible locations, I hope you will think about the long-term viability of potential options. While NC Hillel might not have been the perfect site, it has served us well for the last two election cycles. The Chapel of the Cross would also be a viable, pedestrian-oriented location for early voting.
Carrboro Town Hall, the Seymour Center in Chapel Hill, and the Board of Elections in Hillsborough have obviously been successful early voting sites, and I hope will continue for this fall.
Please let me know if I can answer any questions before your meeting on Tuesday.