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Support Strong Early Voting Plans in Your County

Counties are considering their Early Voting plans for the 2018 General Election. Given the short timeline for decision-making on Early Voting plans, it’s important to have Early Voting advocates like you ready to take action for your communities.

NOTE: A new law (House Bill 335) restores Early Voting on the last Saturday of Early Voting before Election Day in 2018 ONLY and allows flexibility in one-stop Early Voting sites on coastal islands without bridge access.  Under the proposal, a county board of elections must conduct one-stop voting on the last Saturday before the election from 8:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M. and can conduct one-stop early voting until 5:00 P.M. on that Saturday. House Bill 335 revised a law passed by the N.C. General Assembly days earlier,(Senate Bill 325), which had eliminated the final Saturday of Early Voting. Weekday scheduling mandates — requiring uniform (7 a.m.-7 p.m.) weekday hours — remain. Implementing this strenuous weekday schedule will force counties to reduce the number of Early Voting sites and reduce popular weekend hours. The bill provides no additional resources for election officials.

5 Important Ways You Can Help Fight for Early Voting:

#1 – Look up your County Board of Elections and call or visit their website for meeting times.
# 2 – Download the “2018 Early Voting Advocacy Packet,” full of resources to learn the best ways to influence the hours and locations your county offers voters during Early Voting and a paper report form for documenting what happens.

#3 – Download the “Where’s the Action at your Board of Elections?” FAQ to help you understand what’s happening at your County Board of Elections and what it does.

# 4 – Want to quickly share out information about Early Voting discussions and planning from your County Board of Elections meeting? Fill out our online Early Voting Advocacy Report Form. 

#5 – Review prior General Election Early Voting plans for your county and use it as a guide to prepare to advocate for similar (or better) plans in 2018.

A few things to keep in mind when looking at these plans:

  • New BOE members: County boards of elections (BOE) evaluate options and determine Early Voting plans. While some of the county BOE members are the same in 2018 as they were in 2016 or 2014 (because the county political parties re-appointed them), there are also new BOE members. This year (2018), is the first year we will see Early Voting plans from four-member county boards — split along partisan lines, with two Democrats and two Republicans.
  • Midterms have about two-thirds the turnout as Presidential elections:  Midterms have lower turnout than Presidential cycles, so keep that in mind when asking for hours, sites, and reviewing plans. This year’s 2018 general election will likely be most similar in turnout to other midterms, including 2014 and 2010.
  • 2012 was the last federal election year with a set 17-days of Early Voting that was established at the beginning of the Early Voting planning process.  (In 2014, NC only had 10 days of Early Voting. And in 2016, all the counties adopted plans for 10 days before the court restored the first week in late July; counties only had two weeks to re-work their plans and many simply chose to open the statutorily-required minimum (one site, Monday-Friday, 9a-5p) to satisfy the restored seven days. Unfortunately, there seemed to be a default to this same structure in many counties during the 2018 Primary. We want counties to do better for the General.

Other ways to help later in 2018 (coming soon!):

  • look up Early Voting sites in your county for the 2018 elections to share with your friends and neighbors to help them get ready to vote.

Questions? For more information about how to advocate for better Early Voting Plans, please contact elections@democracync.org or call 888-OUR-VOTE.