House Passes Shorter Early Voting Bill
Dropping one week from the early voting schedule will save money and should have no serious effect on voting numbers in Moore County, according to the local elections chief.
However, Moore County was not among the counties seeking the shorter early voting schedule.
The state House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that would reduce the early voting period to one and a half weeks prior to elections. However, the vote was close, 60-58, and the measure must still pass the Senate before reaching the governor’s desk.
“I can confirm that it is an expensive endeavor, but it is certainly worth it to have those extra days to vote,” said Glenda Clendenin, elections director for the Moore County Board of Elections, when asked for comment on the legislation.
Clendenin said the Moore County elections panel was not among the boards that sought the shorter early voting period.
“It certainly will be a saving when it comes to manning those sites,” she said.
Moore County usually maintains only one early voting site, which is at the Agriculture Center across the street from the elections office in Carthage. The principal expense is in paying personnel for the extra duty.
Unlike the situation in many counties, Moore has a very active electorate and the early voting period is usually a busy time. The early voting process also relieves pressure on polling places on election day.
Clendenin says that the first day of the early voting period is usually very busy, but it slacks off later in the week only to pick up in the final week before the election.
“We want to remind voters that if this bill passes, they can still vote by mail if they can’t get to the polls on election day,” Clendenin said.
The Republican-backed bill is opposed by Gary Bartlett, executive director of the State Board of Elections. In a memorandum to House members, Bartlett said the shortened early voting period will not save money and will result in longer lines and higher costs on election day.
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