Sunday voting is not justified
Thursday, August 9, 2018
On July 12 the Pitt County Board of Elections met to decide on an early voting schedule. Public comments were allowed at the beginning of the meeting, with one opportunity to comment. Citizens were not allowed input after that. My concerns are about Sunday voting. Statistics prove civic-minded Pitt County citizens vote within the time frames allotted.
After intense consideration, BOE member, Jeffrey Blick, came up with the best plan. It includes 10-30 extra hours to vote, adds a location, improves poll workers’ hours, acknowledges “Sundays Excepted” — and falls below budget. He insisted on this early voting plan because it is best.
Sunday is the only day officially set apart from official government activity in the the Constitution. “Sundays Excepted” clauses also appear in state constitutions and legislation. The president is given 10 days, Sunday’s expcepted, to approve or veto bills. Barring a crisis, government offices are closed on Sundays, but voting is not a crisis.
The Pitt BOE is justifiably concerned about poll workers. Blick stated that Sunday voting would be ‘’too burdensome on staff. Poll workers would have 13-hour days because they have to work before and after the polls close.’” (The Daily Reflector, July 13, 2018)
Sunday voting is not justified. The best early voting plan provides even shift workers with more than two weeks (including Saturdays) to vote, plus the traditional Election Day and the option to mail in absentee ballots. Citizens plan ahead for other priorities such as government business, doctors’ appointments, children’s needs, etc., many of which are closed on Sundays. Citizens from all backgrounds have ample opportunities to vote without infringing on the constitutionally mandated “Sundays Excepted” clause.
Now the State BOE must decide. Will it act in the best interest of Pitt County citizens by choosing the best early voting plan?
Note: The letter was submitted as the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement was meeting. The board decided to implement a plan that allowed Sunday voting in Pitt County.