While the N.C. Republican Party’s executive director pushed counties to reduce early voting opportunities, another GOP leader went a step further: Calling on Republican county election officials to offer only one early voting site for the minimum hours allowed by law. In an email with the subject line “CRITICAL and CONFIDENTIAL,” NCGOP 1st Congressional District Chairman Garry Terry told county election board members that they “are expected to act within the law and in the best interest of the party.” Terry argued that any early voting hours and sites beyond the legal minimum would give Democrats an advantage in November. “We will never discourage anyone from voting but none of us have any obligation in any shape, form or fashion to do anything to help the Democrats win this election,” Terry wrote. “Left unchecked, they would have early voting sites at every large gathering place for Democrats.”
While Terry labeled his memo “confidential,” emails to county board of elections members are subject to the state’s public records law and must be released upon request. The Vance County Board of Elections recently provided Terry’s memo in response to a records request from The News & Observer.
Terry’s memo suggests two options for county board of elections members: They should make the “financially prudent decision” to schedule a single early voting site during weekday business hours, or “do nothing and do not meet at all” before the state deadline for filing early voting schedules. He says the second option would result in the state automatically setting the minimum hours.
Terry encourages board members with questions to contact him or NCGOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse, who wrote his own memo to Republican board members calling for “party line changes” limiting early voting.