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Board of Elections prepares for primary election

By Liz Moomey

liz.moomey@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — With the primary election less than two months away and early voting closer than that, the Rowan County Board of Elections met Tuesday to discuss the a recent ruling on a Voter ID law, party affiliation and the ballot setup.

Elections Director Brenda McCubbins said there are 421 different ballots in the county. The ballot can look different because of party affiliation, the district in which voters live and if voters are 18 by Election Day.

For example, if someone wants to vote unaffiliated, they will receive a ballot with only a $45 million bond referendum for Rowan-Cabarrus Community college. If the voter is not 18 years old by Nov. 3, he or she will be unable to vote for the bond.

Some ballots will have a front and back. Others will just have a front, McCubbins said.

Board member George W. Benson said he thinks some voters will not fill out the back of the ballot. He asked why the ballot wasn’t one-sided. 

“I sent a request in asking if they could somehow get it on the front. They couldn’t do that,” McCubbins said in response to a question about whether staff ran out of space.

She said the ballots will have “turn over” and “vote on other side” on “as many places they can put it.”

Benson questioned if it would confuse voters if not everyone’s ballot had a back.

“Whatever ballot you get you won’t see the other ones,” McCubbins replied.

She also updated the board after a federal judge halted a state voter ID mandate OK’d by voters, saying the office has stopped creating Voter IDs until further notice from the state.

McCubbins said the court case would not be appealed and its ruling wouldn’t change before the primary election. Depending on court rulings, photo IDs could be required for the November general election.

McCubbins also said she was looking to secure funding for electronic poll books, which will be for the helpdesk to assist with provisional ballots during the elections. She plans to ask Rowan County for funds to rent 41 poll books, costing $382 each. They could be used for the primary, a second primary, if needed, and the November election.

McCubbins said staff doesn’t want to purchase the poll books because they couldn’t be used again if decertified. The poll books were rented in the 2018 general election.

Also on Tuesday, the board approved a request to use the Rowan Public Library South Branch for the 2020 primary election. It will be used as a polling site on Election Day and as one-stop voting site.

In 2020, voters will only get a ballot for the party they are registered to. Unaffiliated voters have a choice of a Republican, Democrat or Libertarian ballot. They will not have the option to vote for the Green of Constitution party ballot, unless they are registered to one of those parties.

The Board of Elections will next meet Feb. 11 at 12:30 p.m.

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