Granville early-voting hours to change

Mar. 19, 2014 @ 07:54 PM

Granville County recently received state permission to change voting hours and locations.

It was among nearly one-third of the state’s counties who sought and received the go-ahead from the State Board of Elections to reduce early-voting hours heading into the May 6 primary below what last year’s elections overhaul law demands.

Elections Director Tonya Burnette said after some back and forth between the county and the state, Granville received the go-ahead to reduce the number of hours election sites will be open during the primary, though less than originally intended.

“We asked for a reduction, and we had to add seven hours back,” she said. “That’s why we have the Oxford site only open for the Saturday for the three hours and then that Thursday and Friday until 7. The state made a conditional approval for our reduction, but we had to add seven hours back to get that reduction.”

The state Board of Elections required the Granville board to open the Richard H. Thornton Library site an additional Saturday — from 9 a.m. to noon April 26 — and two additional evening hours; the facility will be open to voters until 7 p.m. Thursday, May 1, and Friday, May 2.

Last April, the Granville County Board of Commissioners voted to send a resolution to the General Assembly expressing their desire the legislature not cut early voting hours, noting more than half of voters in the county cast their ballots during the 2012 general election before Election Day.

Still, Burnette said she thought the changes would actually make it more convenient for voters who work 9-to-5 jobs during the week.

She said she expects this year’s turnout to be relatively high.

“Generally our turnout here, we have been higher than other counties in the state,” she said. “Again, turnout is low, unfortunately, but ours has been higher. But with the races, with the clerk of court and sheriff and district attorney races, I think our turnout is going to be good.”

Early voting sites in Granville County are the Richard H. Thornton Library large conference room, 210 Main St. in Oxford; the Oxford Public Works Building multipurpose room, 227 W. McClanahan St. in Oxford; and the South Branch Library multipurpose room, 1550 South Campus Drive in Creedmoor.

Early voting hours are:

• 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 24, and Friday, April 25, at all three sites.

• 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 26, at Thornton Library only.

• 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, April 28, to Wednesday, April 30, at all three sites.

• 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, May 1, and Friday, May 2, at Public Works and South Branch Library only.

• 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 1, and Friday, May 2, at Thornton Library only.

• 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 3, at all three sites.

The counties that requested the exemption were Alleghany, Bladen, Brunswick, Buncombe, Caldwell, Camden, Cherokee, Chowan, Clay, Craven, Currituck, Duplin, Graham, Granville, Greene, Henderson, Martin, McDowell, Mitchell, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Sampson, Stokes, Surry, Tyrrell, Warren, Washington, Wilkes, Yadkin and Yancey.

For the state Board of Elections to allow the exemption, local boards of election had to unanimously approve the request.

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