|SBOE Member Josh Malcolm|
Yesterday, lawyers for the League of Women Voters filed in the NC Middle District of Federal Court for immediate expansion of Early Voting in five mainly urban NC counties: Nash, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg, and New Hanover.
The specific requests (thanks to WRAL for the details):
Nash County to open "early voting at the Braswell Memorial Library in Rocky Mount during the first seven days of the early voting period." That early voting site is closed during the first week of early voting under the current plan. It is in a heavily minority area, according to court documents, and closing it puts early voting "out of reach for many (and a disproportionately large share) of Nash’s African-American voters."
New Hanover County to open early voting on Sunday hours. Sunday voting is often used by African American churches to move "souls to the polls."
Mecklenburg County to expand early voting on the last Saturday until 5 p.m. Mecklenburg's early voting plan was one of the most hotly debated during the state boards meeting. "I think this is going to be the poster child for what not to do," Democratic board member Joshua Malcolm said during the meeting.
Guilford County to open more than one polling site during the first week of early voting and to ensure "a sufficient number of locations to adequately serve Guilford County voters, but in any case no less than the number of locations available for voters in 2012, and including those locations that were heavily used by African-American voters."
Forsyth County to expand early voting to Sundays, open multiple locations during the first week of early voting and open an early voting site on the Winston-Salem State University Campus.The Federal court for the Middle District of NC has the burden of overseeing the implementation of the Fourth Circuit Court's original ruling which threw out the Republican election "reforms." Will they see what all the rest of us in that room in Raleigh on September 8 could see -- that boards of elections all over the state were doing what they could to circumvent the Fourth Circuit's ruling, and the SBOE was abetting them.