Democracy North Carolina, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, election-reform group, claims that high interest in the presidential primary means that local officials need to be ready for high turnouts in the voting booths when voting begins April 17 in the state’s early voting period — and on the May 6 official primary day.
“It’s like preparing for a hurricane and a week-long rock concert at the same time,” DNC Executive Director Bob Hall said in an April 14 press release. “Officials need to plan for every contingency, add extra personnel, anticipate where bottlenecks will happen, and keep educating the public about changes in conditions.”
Hall’s group is lobbying county election boards for extended early voting hours. He notes that the N.C. Board of Elections has provided more than $1 million in assistance grants to local boards, but says more is needed to hire additional personnel to process an abundance of new voter registration forms and to facilitate the voting process.
The organization’s recommendations for individual voters include: Learn when and where early voting sites are open. Become familiar with the local ballot. Learn how to vote by mail with an absentee ballot. Learn about the candidates, and remember to vote in the nonpartisan races at the end of the ballot.
In Buncombe County, one-stop early voting takes place April 17 to May 3 and allows both voting and voter registration (bring ID) to take place in advance of the primary. Locations: Asheville Senior Opportunity Center on Grove Street, Biltmore Square Mall, the Election Services Office, Carver Community Center in Black Mountain, Weaverville Town Hall, and the Fairview, Leicester, North Asheville, South Buncombe and West Asheville libraries. For a list of campaign events leading up to the May 6 primary, see the Xpress’ weekly Campaign Calendar, in both print and Web editions.
— Nelda Holder, associate editor