Wednesday, 08 July 2020 15:59

Vote Where? Richmond County Board of Elections to discuss early voting sites

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ROCKINGHAM — As Election Day draws closer, the Richmond County Board of Elections has to figure out where to set up for one-stop early voting.

The board will be discussing that topic during a meeting Tuesday, July 14 in Courtroom A of the Richmond County Judicial Center.

Elections Director Connie Kelly said one familiar site will be the Cooperative Extension office on Caroline Street, which will be the board’s “in-lieu-of site,” since the elections office isn’t large enough to hold a crowd of voters.

During a presidential election year, like this one, the county has to open additional sites, Kelly said.

Cole Auditorium at Richmond Community College in Hamlet has been used as an early voting site for the past several years.

However, elections law requires all additional voting sites to have the same hours — 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. — and be open the same days, Kelly said, adding that if one site is available for Sunday voting, they all have to be open.

According to Kelly, the Cole wasn’t able to commit to that availability, so other options have to be considered.

One of those is Browder Park on Rockingham Road Ext., which also generally serves as an Election Day site. Kelly said it’s one of the only public locations she knows of that his large enough to hold a voting crowd and observe social distancing guidelines — if they’re still in place when early voting begins in mid-October.

Two other early voting sites in the county listed for consideration are First Presbatyrian Church in Hamlet and First Methodist Church in Ellerbe.

Kelly said the local board has to submit its plan to the N.C. State Board of Elections by July 31.

With the uncertainty of COVID-19 restrictions in the coming months, Kelly said she has seen an increase of voters asking for or about absentee ballots.

For those who prefer or plan to vote in person, Kelly added that federal dollars have been allocated to the board to help cover COVID-related expenses, including cleaning supplies.

The public is invited to attend the meeting, which begins at 2 p.m., however, due to social distancing guidelines, only 25 people will be allowed inside the courtroom and face masks will be required.

Questions can also be submitted to be read during the meeting by Kelly or the board chairman. Those submissions must be received by 5 p.m. Monday, July 13. Written comments or questions should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

To listen to the meeting by phone, dial 415-655-0001 and enter the following access code: 160 541 1870.