Nearly a full month after the Orange County Board of Elections met to hash out an early voting plan and almost 11 hours into the meeting of the state Board of Elections on Thursday, a compromise plan was ordered for early voting in Orange County.
The state board heard from all three members of the local board just before nine o’clock on Thursday night to settle the early voting plan. The state board was forced to intervene when the three members could not unanimously agree to an early voting plan for the county.
At a meeting in mid-August, one Democrat and one Republican board member agreed to a compromise plan, which served as the foundation to build on Thursday night. But it wasn’t a smooth process between the local and state meetings, all three board members eventually submitted individual plans after disagreement over how many hours were included in the compromise.
Republican board chair Kathy Knight said her individual plan was meant as a potential compromise but said she had learned you couldn’t please everybody.
The final plan ordered Thursday night, subject to approval by the state board’s general counsel, calls for five locations to be open for early voting – the county Board of Elections offices, Carrboro Town Hall, Efland Ruritan Club, Chapel of the Cross and the Seymour Center.
The Board of Elections office and Carrboro Town Hall will be open from nine o’clock in the morning until six o’clock in the evening each weekday of early voting. The other three sites will be open from noon until seven o’clock each weekday evening. All sites will be open from nine o’clock until four o’clock on the first two Saturdays of early voting.
The plan also calls for polls to be open until 7:30 in the evening on the last three weekdays of early voting.
Among the changes ordered Thursday night, all sites will close at five o’clock on Monday, October 31, for Halloween.
Democratic board member Jamie Cox said that he was willing to accept closing early on Halloween in order for the sites to open one hour earlier on the final Saturday.
Assuming the plan is signed off on by the state board’s general counsel, that agreement set the early voting schedule for Orange County this November. Of course, all of this was ordered after the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down North Carolina’s Voter ID law, which limited the number of days in the early voting period.
There is still no Sunday voting in the Orange County plan, which community members asked for at the board’s meeting last month.
Early voting is set to being on October 20.