Emergency order issued by State Board of Elections for fall election; watchdog group says more action needed

The State Board of elections issued a detailed, eight page emergency order today to deal with administering the 2020 election during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here to read the order.

Travis Fain of WRAL.com reported this summary:

The order requires at least one early voting location per 20,000 registered voters. That may mean a dramatic uptick in voting locations open in the weeks before the Nov. 3 election, though county boards of election can apply for waivers if they can serve voters with fewer locations without causing long lines, the order states.

The order requires election officials to wear face coverings, and it says counties must make masks available to voters who don’t bring their own. It does not require voters to wear masks.

The order also calls for frequent cleaning, backup plans if voting locations must close and social distancing, including ‘appropriate markings and providing appropriate barriers, including barriers between elections officials and voters at check-in.’

…The order also requires county boards of election to open early voting sites for at least 10 hours on the weekends of October 17-18 and October 24-25. The order allows for earlier open times and later closing times than in normal years, saying sites can open before 8 a.m. and close after 7:30 p.m.

A county’s early voting sites would generally have to have uniform hours, though, keeping to a legislative edict the General Assembly passed into law in recent years.”

The government watchdog group Democracy North Carolina, which has championed strong action to assure access to the ballot this fall, was unsatisfied with the order and issued the following statement:

“The order comes nearly two months after Democracy North Carolina and other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the State Board of Elections demanding North Carolina take the necessary steps to guarantee a fair, safe election in November, given the likelihood that the state and the country will still be experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Democracy North Carolina’s Advocacy Director Alissa Ellis responded to the order, saying the ‘measures fall far short of what is necessary’ to protect voters this fall.

‘Today’s emergency action by the State Board of Elections to expand Early Voting options, in addition to other safeguards, acknowledges what we’ve known for some time: to keep in-person voting safe amid the uncertain COVID-19 crisis, we’ll need to increase access to North Carolina’s Early Voting options and, in doing so, help avoid long lines and allow for safer social distancing at the polls,’ said Ellis. ‘However, these measures fall far short of what is necessary, and we encourage the State Board and Legislature to take further efforts to make voting safe and accessible to all voters during this pandemic, including expanding voter registration opportunities, easing assistance restrictions for absentee ballots, allowing county boards more flexibility in the hours they offer voters for early voting, and guaranteeing PPE and ballot drop boxes for voters. With voting only months away, now the immediate work must turn to helping North Carolina’s counties facilitate these important changes and educating voters about these and other options to vote more safely this fall.'”

Look for additional coverage of this developing story from Policy Watch in the coming days.

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

WASHINGTON — The coronavirus pandemic has brought heartbreaking consequences for millions of U.S. ch [...]

Sheriffs and advocates remain opposed, but the party of Donald Trump is no longer a roadblock Video [...]

Student leaders at UNC-Chapel Hill are asking that money from a recently increased security fee go t [...]

The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May of 2020 and the demonstrations that ensued in score [...]

An honest assessment of the disastrous U.S. experience in Afghanistan leads to some hard truths and [...]

There is, of course, nothing new about the idea that blood runs thick in politics. The list of promi [...]

The post North Carolina court blocks Voter ID law for discriminatory intent appeared first on NC Pol [...]

Vaccine refusal is a major reason COVID-19 infections continue to surge in the U.S. Safe and effecti [...]

A Clear and Present Danger


NC’s Tarheel Army Missile Plant is a toxic disgrace
Read the two-part story about the Army’s failure to clean up hazardous chemicals, which have contaminated a Black and Hispanic neighborhood for 30 years.

Read in English.

Haga clic aquí para leer: Peligro inminente
Una antigua planta de misiles del Ejército ha contaminado un vecindario negro y latino durante 30 años.

Leer en español.