Dare elections board fails to agree on early voting plan

By on July 18, 2018

The Dare County Board of Elections was unable to reach an agreement on an early voting plan for the November General Election at their meeting Tuesday, and one member has decided to step down.

Three plans will now be submitted to the state Board of Elections for a ruling, likely at its Aug.2 meeting in Raleigh.

Republicans Donna Elms and Carole Warnecki, and Democrats Virginia Tillett and Sandy Semans Ross, were unable to give unanimous approval of any of the proposals.

The Republican majority in the Legislature passed a law this summer that all early voting sites will have to be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays starting Oct. 17, and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday Nov. 3. Election Day is Nov. 6.

A number of local election officials across the state have said staffing early voting sites will be difficult under the 12-hour mandate.

Elms, Warnecki and Ross submitted proposals that would close the Pitts Center in Southern Shores as an early voting location. Tillett proposed keeping the Pitts Center in use.

Ross’ plan would also open early voting sites on Sunday, Oct. 28 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. But that option was not backed by the GOP members and Tillett.

All three plans have early voting sites at Kill Devil Hills Town Hall, the Fessenden Center in Buxton and the Dare County Board of Elections office on Roanoke Island.

Also during the meeting, Elms announced she will retire from the board for personal reasons.

The Dare County Republican Party will recommend a successor to the state GOP, which will then submit its choice to the state Board of Elections for final approval.

In other business, county boards must have a Republican chairperson and Democratic vice-chair during even-numbered years under a state law that reorganized the make-up of the boards.

That law went into effect earlier this year after a series of legal challenges.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Warnicki was elected chair of the Dare elections board, Ross as vice-chair and Tillett as secretary.

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