Commissioners authorize election information brochure
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Pitt County's elections board is producing a guide that will give registered voters personalized information along with facts about the 2016 election.
The Pitt County Board of Commissioners voted 8-1 Monday to use contingency dollars to produce the double-sided brochure which should go out by mid-October. Commissioner Charles Farley cast the lone no vote. The printing and mailing is estimated to cost about $40,000.
"It's been a hectic year; we've had a lot of changes," Elections Director Dave Davis said while updating commissioners on Monday.
A federal judicial panel declared two North Carolina congressional districts unconstitutional, forcing the General Assembly to redraw all districts and postpone that election until June. About 19 percent of Pitt County's 117,000 registered voters were moved into new districts because of the changes, Davis said.
A federal appellate court then ruled portions of the state's 2013 voting laws were unconstitutional. The court rescinded the requirement that a photo identification be presented before voting and restored the 17-day early voting period, restored same-day voter registration during the early voting period and restored early registration which allows 16- and 17-year-old high school students to register to vote once they turn 18.
"We'll receive thousands of calls in the weeks leading up to the election and they are always the same three questions: am I registered, where can I vote and who can I vote for, who's on my ballot," Davis said. The brochure will have the voter's address, identify their polling place and its address and identify the districts they'll be voting in for Congress, state Senate, state House, Board of Commissioners and Board of Education.
The brochure also will have the hours and locations for early voting, a list of the partisan and nonpartisan offices that will be on the ballot and general information about curbside voting and absentee voting, along with information that can be found on the state Board of Elections website, http://www.ncsbe.gov.
"That, I think, will be a great tool for voters," Davis said.
The brochure will go out to the county's 95,000 active voters, Davis said. Voters are classified as inactive when two mailings from the elections board are returned because they are undeliverable.
Individuals who do not receive a brochure should visit www.ncsbe.gov/voter_search_public to verify they are registered and that the correct address is on the voter registration form. If not, the individuals should contact the local elections board to either register or update their information, Davis said.
Individuals must register by Oct. 14 if they want to vote on Election Day, Nov. 8. Individuals can register and vote on the same day during the early voting period, Oct. 20-Nov. 4.
One 2013 voting law the appellate court did not change is the elimination of straight-ticket voting based on political parties. Individuals will have to select a candidate in every single race, if they desire.
Pitt County has 53 different ballots because it is divided between two congressional districts, three state House and two state Senate districts, nine school board districts and three super districts on the Board of Commissioners.
Because the county's school board size was reduced from 12 seats to nine, 61 percent of the county's registered voters have been placed in a different school district, Davis said.
Voters can find out what district they are in by visiting the state elections board website and obtaining a sample ballot.
Along with producing the brochure, Davis has worked with the Pitt County Public Information Office to post election information on www.pittcountync.gov. There is a link to search voter registration information and to find the nearest one-stop early voting sites, election day polling places and voting place procedures.
Contact Ginger Livingston at email@example.com or 252-329-9570. Follow her on Twitter @GingerLGDR.