NC calls on counties to take steps to speed early voting

Posted October 23, 2012 6:09 p.m. EDT
Updated October 25, 2012 8:10 p.m. EDT

— State elections officials are asking their county counterparts to find ways to ease long lines at North Carolina's early voting stations.

State Board of Elections Executive Director Gary Bartlett sent memos Monday and Tuesday to elections directors in all 100 counties, urging them to consider changes that will make voting occur more efficiently and alleviate waits as long as two hours at some locations.

More than 720,700 people had voted statewide as of Tuesday, a 22 percent increase from the 564,600 who cast ballots in the first six days of early voting in 2008, Bartlett said. Elections officials expect early voting to exceed 2 million by its Nov. 3 close.

North Carolina has seen more than 400,000 voters register since the 2008 election, he said.

Bartlett said counties must process votes more efficiently and make the experience better for voters.

He told county boards to consider extending early voting times and adding weekend days. Such decisions would require unanimous approval by a local board.

Counties also should look at redistributing voting booths and handing out sample ballots to people in line, according to his memos.