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Democracy NC, Local Activists to Buncombe Board of Elections: “Provide Access for All Voters” Amid COVID-19 Concerns

Asheville, N.C. (April 28, 2020) — On the day of the Buncombe County Board of Elections’ first-ever virtual meeting to discuss 2020 voting options, dozens of activists led by local chapters of Democracy North Carolina, Equality NC and the ACLU of North Carolina, submitted their recommendations to the Board to “ensure access to all voters.” 

In a letter emailed to the Board’s director and five members, the activists outlined ways the Board could protect options for the county’s Black, Latinx, student and working voters amid concerns caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

The letter states, “[We] know that you will be making important decisions on how to administer the upcoming election in light of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to secure safe voting options for all, including access for historically-marginalized Buncombe County voters, we put forth the following recommendations to defend and broaden voting options.”

The 26 activists, representing faith communities, student organizations, and pro-voter groups, and others, specifically urged the elections board to retain Early Voting sites serving historically-marginalized communities such as the Dr. Wesley Grant Southside Center and on-campus locations at UNC Asheville, Warren Wilson College, and AB-Tech, and defend weekend options for working voters, including Sunday voting. In addition, they called on the Board to pass a realistic budget that would ensure adequate staffing for a high turnout presidential election, and to make paper ballots available in both Spanish and English.


“Without accessible ballots and safe voting options, folks in our county may have to decide between exercising their right to vote and their health.” –Buncombe Activists to BOE, April 28, 2020

The letter closes by saying, “Without accessible ballots and safe voting options, folks in our county may have to decide between exercising their right to vote and their health.”

This week, Democracy North Carolina has also hosted an online portal to encourage Buncombe County voters to contact the Board in support of these and other recommendations at By April 28, over 150 Buncombe voters had already emailed the Board to support these and other recommendations. 

The Buncombe County Board of Elections will take up these proposals at their Tuesday, April 28, at 5 p.m. virtual meeting, when the director and members convene online to discuss election funding and options ahead of the 2020 General Election this fall. The public is encouraged to attend and provide public comment at the virtual meeting here

Democracy North Carolina is a statewide nonpartisan organization that uses research, organizing, and advocacy to increase civic participation, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and remove systemic barriers to voting and serving in elected office.


Sailor Jones,
Communications Director, Democracy NC,
Edward Peters,
Western Regional Managing Organizer, Democracy NC,


April 28: Local Activists Letter to Buncombe BOE

Local activists to Buncombe County BOE: "ensure access for all voters."