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Darts and Laurels: Sunday voting needed in Rowan

Laurel to the many people who have spoken in favor of and the Rowan County Board of Elections for making plans to discuss Sunday early voting on March 3.

We should all be able to support increased opportunities for Rowan County voters to cast their ballots in the 2020 general election and beyond. That’s particularly true for the Rowan County Board of Elections, whose job includes ensuring access to voting and monitoring results for irregularities.

More opportunities mean a better chance for high turnout. And high turnout means a broader swath of the electorate has a say in choosing their future leaders.

Sunday early voting, in particular, will ensure people of every socio-economic status have the opportunity to vote if they can get to the polls. There are voters and eligible non-voters who cannot make it to the ballot box during the week or on Election Day, which is why Saturday is a critical part of early voting. Others work six days per week or have other plans to make Saturday voting tough, too.

Because they’ll have to approve the Board of Elections’ budget, county commissioners will have the final say on Sunday voting. So, those in favor of the change must direct their advocacy to commissioners, too, if they hope to see the change implemented.

Dart to the not-so-subtle suggestion by Rep. Ted Budd, R-13, this week that eliminating a “millennial marriage penalty” would somehow reverse marriage trends and lead to a decrease in poverty in America.

Writing for The Daily Signal, a website published by the conservative Heritage Foundation, Budd talked about the importance of “the success sequence” — when people, in the following order, graduate high school, start working, get married and have children. Someone who does those four things in order are more likely to work their way into the middle- or upper-income tiers, Budd wrote, citing a 2017 study from Virginia researchers.

It’s a useful case for promoting a new bill Budd has helped introduce to allow both spouses in a marriage, instead of just one, to claim a $2,500 student-loan interest. But it’s also a way-too-simplistic way to view the complex problem of poverty, which has its roots in any number of societal ills. Budd is wrong when he (or perhaps his staff) wrote on social media that “marriage is the ticket out of poverty.”

It may be true that 97% of young adults who follow the sequence end up better off, but there are more important factors at play in their success. Someone trying to fight their way out of generational poverty is not necessarily going to work their way up simply by following those steps.

If Budd is truly interested in reducing poverty in America or his district, he should focus more intently on items like education, job training programs and barriers that prevent our brothers and sisters of all races and ethnicities from having the same opportunities in life.

During a series of otherwise misguided comments by our state legislators last week, laurel to a comment by Rep. Wayne Sasser, a Republican from Stanly County, about Medicaid expansion.

The price of health care has gone up drastically, Sasser said. Meanwhile, incomes have lagged behind.

“We have people working two jobs that don’t have health care because it’s so expensive,” Sasser told the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce’s Power in Partnership breakfast Thursday. “We all have compassion for our fellow man, but we have to balance that compassion with what can we afford to pay (for) without finishing bankrupting this country.”

If politicians of all stripes could operate with the basic facts that some make too little to afford health care ,others earn too much for Medicaid, something must be done to provide health care to those who fall in the gap and that the solution must work within budget realities, perhaps we wouldn’t be without a state budget months after the 2019 session adjourned.

Health care shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

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