At a meeting on Monday, August 8th, Guilford County Board of Elections unanimously approved an early voting plan for the 2016 election cycle. The plan consists of 25 sites and includes weekend voting hours. The new plan offers more locations and more flexible hours compared to the 2012 election. A full list of early voting locations is available on the Guilford County website, at http://www.myguilford.com/elections/.
The board rejected the plan originally proposed that would have eliminated Sunday voting and a large number of voting places, such as Barber Park, UNC-Greensboro and N.C. A&T. Students and community advocates argued that the original plan would have made it harder for students to vote.
Early voting will start on Oct. 20 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m in the main location downtown in the blue room of the old Guilford County Courthouse. Twenty Four additional voting sites will open on Thursday, Oct. 27, from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.. Saturday, Nov. 5, voting hours change to 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.. On Sunday voting will be available only on Oct. 30, from 11a.m. to 5 p.m. The plan is still pending approval from the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
The early voting plan was revised after the last month ruling of a federal court held that North Carolina elections law illegally targeted minorities through strict voter ballot-access rules. In 2013 the North Carolina General Assembly passed a law reducing early voting from 17 to 10 days, eliminated same-day registration, out-of-precinct voting, registration for 16 and 17 year olds and required voter identification before casting a ballot.
Voters and several other groups sued the state over the legality of the law, disputing the changes and how they disproportionately affects black voters across North Carolina. The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the voters and held the law targeted African American Voters “with almost surgical precision.”
The additional voting locations and the reinstated on-campus sites will offer minorities and students the chance to cast their vote in the upcoming election. Students and community members of the University of North Carolina can utilize the Kaplan Center for Wellness to cast their vote!