News

Early voting convenient for students and community

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Daniel Bayer
  Staff Writer

GREENSBORO – Students at UNCG, as well as members of the Greensboro community, can cast early ballots at the Kaplan Wellness Center on Gate City Boulevard.

“The Chancellor’s office and other campus administrators worked with the local board of elections to find a site on campus that would provide parking and accessibility without disrupting academic activity,” said Assistant Director for Community Engagement Kristina Snader of UNCG’s Office of Leadership and Service Learning.

Hours for early voting at the center are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday Nov. 4 and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday Nov. 5. Other early voting sites near the campus are the Old Courthouse on Market Street and the Greensboro Coliseum on Coliseum Boulevard. The Old Courthouse has voting hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the coliseum is open for voting from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. through Friday. Both will be open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

On Friday, students were already taking advantage of the early voting opportunity at the Kaplan center.

“It’s very convenient,” said UNCG Junior Sarah Laney, who had just voted, “though it would’ve been nice if it had been in the EUC.”

“Having one location is fine,” said UNCG Junior Priscilla Perlov, who was also voting, “especially if there are no long lines.”

Early voting has been the subject of lawsuits in North Carolina after the state legislature passed a law, HB539, in 2013. The law required a photo ID to vote and limited early voting to ten days before the election. Critics, such as the state NAACP, said that such provisions were intended to suppress minority votes.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the early voting provision last June, setting off a county-by-county battle over how many early voting sites there would be as local Republican-controlled boards of elections fought efforts to increase early voting hours and sites.

On October 19 the Fourth Circuit dismissed a request by voters to force the counties of Mecklenburg, Guilford, Forsyth, Nash and New Hanover to extend their early voting hours. Prior to Friday, Guilford County had only one site for early voting, resulting in long lines. Another 24 early voting sites opened last Thursday in Guilford County, including the wellness center, though lines remained long, according to the Greensboro News & Record.

Guilford County Board of Elections Director Charlie Collicutt told the News & Record that 22,157 people had voted at early voting sites in Guilford County on Thursday.

Laney and Perlov both appreciated the opportunity to vote.

“There are so many people who don’t have that liberty,” said Perlov.

“I’m really proud that we voted,” said Laney. “I’m thankful for the right to vote.”

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