Early voting schedules for the fall elections remain unresolved in at least one-quarter of North Carolina’s counties after a federal court ruling that struck down key portions of the state’s 2013 voter identification and ballot access law. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined Republican legislators acted with discriminatory intent toward black voters when they approved several provisions, including one that reduced the number of early voting days from a maximum of 17 days to 10. Early in-person voting is popular in North Carolina, used by more than half of the people casting ballots in the 2012 presidential election, when it covered 17 days. Its use could make a difference Nov. 8. County boards of elections had approved 10-day plans for early voting sites and hours of operation. They had until late last week to give the State Board of Elections revised plans based on a schedule beginning Oct. 20 instead of Oct. 27.
Local boards in 66 of the state’s 100 counties approved their updated plans, according to data provided Friday by the State Board of Elections. Those plans are now essentially finalized.
But 24 counties provided two plans – one approved by a majority on each three-member board and the other backed by a single member. Those counties include several of the state’s largest: Mecklenburg, Wake, New Hanover, Pitt and Union. The Orange County board offered four plans.
Two of the three members on each county board are Republican because Gov. Pat McCrory is a Republican. The other is a Democrat.