The State Board of Elections will meet this Thursday at 1 p.m. The SBOE is meeting to appoint new county board of elections members. They will also determine whether the local boards that are seeking to modify their early voting hours for the November election have met with the approval of Maja Kricker, one of the five board members. (Read more about the requirements for early voting hours in this earlier blog).
On July 29, during the board’s last meeting, the State Board approved 15 counties’ plans. They sent 17 counties’ plans back for the local boards, who had voted unanimously to approve them, to rework the schedules to meet Kricker’s requirements. The State Board also conditionally approved Pender County’s plan, seeing that the entire three member board (two Republicans and one Democrat) was in attendance. While they couldn’t technically meet as a board at the state board meeting, they indicated that they would comply with board member Kricker’s rules:
- On at least four weekdays, at least one site is open until 8:00 p.m.; OR alternately, on at least four weekdays, at least one site is open for at least 12 hours; AND
- On Saturday, 10/25/14, at least one site is open for at least 3 hours
Ms. Kricker was a county board (Chatham) Chair and she seems to believe that the rest of North Carolina’s 100 counties require the same type of schedule that she thought worked best for Chatham.
Thirty-nine counties made requests for early voting hours reductions for the 2014 primary and 38 were unanimously approved by the SBOE. According to the SBOE, as compared to the 2010 primary, early voting (in 2014) fell by 250.75 hours statewide. The greatest reduction was in Warren (104 fewer hours). Forty-one (41) counties increased early voting hours, with Mecklenburg offering 667 additional hours over 2010. Twenty-one (21) counties maintained the same total hours offered in 2010. Combined, 289 sites have been designated for early voting during the primary, 77 more than offered in 2010.
Below is a look, in chart form, at how many voters voted per hour in the 38 counties that reduced their hours in the 2014 primary compared to the primary in 2010. All of these counties were required to comply with the Kricker criteria. Of the 38 counties, 19 counties voted less than 10 voters per hour, 33 voted less than 15 voters per hour and 37 voted less than 20 voters per hour. There was only one county that voted more than 20 people per hour during the early voting period. Onslow County voted 58.6 people per hour.
In an article that appeared on the last day of early voting, the director of Onslow County Board of Election’s indicated that the turnout had been steady and (the polls) had been running smoothly. Onslow County, with only one voting site for early voting, voted nearly 60 people an hour with apparent ease. No doubt the Onslow County Board of Elections board members and board director knew exactly what they needed to accommodate the voters in their county without Ms. Kricker applying her rules across the board to all of North Carolina’s 100 counties.
Just in case you were wondering, Chatham County (SBOE member Kricker’s home county) did not ask for a reduction in hours for the primary and ended up voting 10.5 people per hour and Mecklenburg County, the county that increased their early voting hours by 667 hours voted 17.2 voters per hour in the primary.
|County||2010 Hours||2014 Hours||2010 – 2014 Difference||2014 Primary voters||2014 Primary voters per hour|