Local Politics

Carrboro city leaders say Black Lives Matter flags will stay at voting site

Posted October 29, 2020 5:16 p.m. EDT
Updated October 29, 2020 7:20 p.m. EDT

— Leaders in Carrboro say several Black Lives Matter flags will stay up at a voting site at Town Hall, even after state election officials requested they be taken down.

WRAL News has learned of several complaints from voters. The State Board of Elections sent city officials a letter calling for the flags to be taken down over concern that they could deter people from feeling confident to vote at the location. Thursday, city officials said the flags aren’t going anywhere.

"I live in Carrboro, and I’m very proud of the leadership we have here," said Diane Robertson, a resident of Carrboro.

Robertson said she was made more proud when she saw these Black Lives Matter flags at the voting location.

"It was the decision of the leadership to express the values of the community with those flags," Robertson said.

However, that decision is being challenged by some voters who argue Black Lives Matter is a political organization and therefore signage at a voting site shouldn’t be allowed. The State Board of Elections received complaints from voters like this one, which read, "I truly questioned whether my vote would be fairly counted.”

The State Board of Elections then sent a letter to the Carrboro mayor, asking that the flags be taken down, adding that the flags “could be interpreted as an official endorsement by the board of elections in favor of a particular movement.”

Thursday afternoon, the city fired back, writing to to WRAL News that they have chosen to leave the flags in place. They said they have been up at the same location for months.

"It’s a values statement, it’s not a political sign," Roberetson said.

Marilyn Carter, the Chair of the Orange County Democratic Party, came down to the polling site on Thursday to see things for herself.

"Any disagreements about placement of flags is really between the Town of Carrboro and whoever is launching the complaint," Carter said. "So, we won't get into that. We do, though, unequivocally support the Black Lives Matter movement."

WRAL News reached out to the Republican Party of Orange County, which said it also received complaints from voters about the flags. There was no response from the group as of Thursday evening.

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