A bill that would shorten North Carolina’s early voting period would create longer lines at the polls and increase the cost of elections, the executive director of the state elections board said Wednesday.
Gary Bartlett’s comments came in a memo shortly after the House narrowly passed the measure that would reduce the current 21/2-week early voting period by a week, even while opening polls for a second Saturday before the election. The Republican-backed bill passed 60-58, largely along party lines.
Supporters said it would save money for local elections boards by shortening the time early voting sites are open. Legislative researchers estimate it would save counties about $2,000 per site. Bartlett disputes that.
“That perceived savings would be more than offset by cost increases for several reasons,” he wrote.
Counties, he said, would have to deal with greater Election Day turnout. That might entail opening new precincts or buying new voting equipment. It would also reduce the flexibility early voting allows to allocate equipment and staff.