WHAT IS AN EARLY VOTING PLAN?
Each county board of elections decides the Early Voting sites and voting hours for upcoming elections. The information about site locations and hours forms the county’s EARLY VOTING PLAN. This plan must be approved by the county board of elections by a unanimous vote, which must be held during a public board of elections meeting.
If the county board does not approve the Early Voting plan unanimously, any board member can submit an alternative plan to the State Board of Elections, which has the final authority to decide the plan. The power of one Board member to submit an alternative plan is an important point of leverage to make a county’s plan better.
WHY ARE GOOD EARLY VOTING SITES AND HOURS IMPORTANT?
Early Voting is the most popular way to vote in North Carolina. In 2020, 66% of North Carolinians cast their ballot at an Early Voting site – compared to just 16% of voters who cast a ballot on Election Day.
Early Voting sites are so important because they give voters the option to register to vote or update their voter registration AND cast a ballot at the same time. They also help eliminate overcrowding and long lines at Election Day polling places.
It’s very important to have enough Early Voting sites – and plentiful voting hours, particularly on the weekend – to ensure that voters have more options for casting a ballot. Fewer Early Voting sites and hours make it harder for all North Carolinians to cast a ballot.
WHAT’S THE TIMELINE FOR THE 2024 PRIMARY ELECTION?
September-November: counties will begin the process of choosing and securing voting sites and determining hours. This is a great time to ask your board for their draft plan.
November: counties will vote to approve their draft plan. This is the time to attend your county board meeting and advocate for your plan.
December: the state board of elections will meet to decide Early Voting plans for counties that did not unanimously approve their plan. This is when plans will be finalized.