Last Friday, September 3rd, I blogged that absentee ballots were ready to be mailed because that’s what I read on the SBOE website (and that is what is required in NCGS 163-248(b)).
The law states: (b) Absentee Ballot Form.—Persons entitled to vote by absentee ballot under the terms of this Article shall be furnished with regular official ballots; separate or distinctly marked absentee ballots shall not be used. The State Board of Elections and the county boards of elections shall have all necessary absentee ballots printed and in the hands of the proper election officials not later than 60 days before the statewide general election in even-numbered years and not later than 50 days before the primary or any other election. However, in the case of municipal elections, absentee ballots shall be made available no later than 30 days before an election.
I just received a call from a friend of mine who said she had discovered that the ballots are not going to be ready until September 17. The State Board of Elections has now updated their calendar to reflect the change in date – but has failed to place an explanation or an announcement on their website.
Just as a note, as of this time, (6:36 pm on September 8, 2010) neither Wake BOE’s calendar nor Mecklenburg BOE’s calendar have been updated . When was the State Board of Elections going to make the announcement – or were they? We are not talking about a day or two or even three. We are talking about 2 full weeks!
According to my friend, the State Board of Elections pointed to the fact that since they had to open a filing period for the NC Court of Appeals seat vacated by Judge Jim Wynn, ballot printing was delayed.
Will this delay make a difference in the outcome of the vote for this election? Absolutely – the military vote will once again be impacted and diminished.
If ballots are not mailed until September 17, military voters in Afghanistan, Iraq and all around the world will have less than 50 days to receive, execute and return their ballots – this is not enough time and that is why the NC legislature amended the statutes this year to add an extra 10 days to the schedule (from 50 to 60).
The NC State Board of Elections should be required to enact a process to ensure that all the military voters can submit their ballots by fax or email.
Why has the State Board been so quiet about such a drastic change in schedule? Anybody have any ideas out there?