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Laurels: State made right decision with Sunday voting plan

Laurel to the State Board of Elections for approving Sunday voting in this year’s municipal elections in Rowan County.

The board on Sept. 10 voted for “Plan D,” which will give voters the ability to cast their ballot on Sunday, Oct. 17 and Sunday, Oct. 24. In addition, voters can cast ballots on every Saturday from Oct. 14 to Oct. 30. Election Day is Nov. 2.

The expansive early voting schedule means voters have fewer excuses than ever to avoid participating in local elections.

From 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays, the Rowan County Board of Elections will have a polling site at its office in West End Plaza, 1935 Jake Alexander Blvd W.

Rowan Board of Elections member Dave Collins made a reasonable point to the state board. People may just shift the time when they vote if they cannot do so on Sunday. There’s also a reasonable argument that a greater number of casual voters will be able to cast a ballot if polls are open on Saturday and Sunday.

An embarrassingly low percentage of people vote in municipal elections in Rowan County — just 20.33% in 2019, 15.92% in 2017 and 14.26% in 2015. Last year, the turnout was 75.59% for the presidential race. It was also the best turnout since at least the 1980s.

To be clear, it is not only a case of fewer people being able to vote because they don’t live in the limits of a city or town. Despite the immense role city and town councils have on daily life, voters just don’t seem to have the same level of interest in municipal races.

For something that unfortunately may be a passing interest to some voters, it’s best to provide as many opportunities as possible to cast a ballot in municipal elections. When more people cast a ballot, voters’ interests are better represented in the final results.

Laurel to the Salisbury Rotary Club for completing some unfinished business and giving O.K. Beatty posthumous membership in the organization.

Beatty was prevented from joining in the 1970s because of a fight that raised racial tensions in Salisbury, but any club would have been blessed to have him as a member.

He served in World War II, taught at Livingstone College and was a member of the Salisbury City Council before being denied membership in the Salisbury Rotary Club. Among many other accomplishments, he also became president of Livingstone College. He participated in a wide variety of church and other civic activities.

F&M Bank Chairman and CEO Steve Fisher said the posthumous honor was about the past as well as the future.

“Today is about us as a club remembering where we’ve been, but also paving the way to a better future for our club and our community,” Fisher said. “And I thank you and your father for your patience — because it took us a while — your humility and your willingness to step forward with us together.”

Laurel to the Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education and staff for getting back to work on a K-8 facility to combine Knox Middle and Overton Elementary.

Knox, in particular, has been in need of facility improvements for a decade or more. Overton found itself on the chopping block and set for closure. While other schools were closed for being too costly to maintain, Overton was set for closure because of the was RSS hoped to renovate Knox.

A $55-million, K-8 facility is a better solution. RSS can create a world-class facility for 21st-century learning in Rowan’s county seat.

While the projected completion date is 2024, resuming work now will give parents, students and community members a reminder that work is underway in Rowan-Salisbury Schools to create a top-tier public education.

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