Representative G. K. Butterfield

Representing the 1st District of North Carolina

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Butterfield: Wilson County Early Voting Plan will Disenfranchise Voters

Jul 11, 2014
Press Release

Wilson, NC – Today, Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) sent a letter to the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) asking they approve an early voting plan that does not restrict voters’ access to the polls.  Yesterday, the Wilson County Board of Elections approved an early voting plan that excludes Sunday voting and does not provide for any early voting sites outside of the City of Wilson.  This misguided decision was made at a public meeting where residents were denied the right to comment prior to the Board voting.  

Butterfield wrote, “I am extremely concerned about the latest actions taken by the Board because they will ultimately disenfranchise voters and stifle electoral participation.  

Public support for Sunday voting was clearly demonstrated at yesterday’s Board meeting where two dozen residents attempted to voice support but Board Chairman Robert Brown did not let them speak prior to the vote.  Residents of Wilson County were rightfully outraged with their inability to offer public comment during Thursday’s meeting.  

Restricting voter access amounts to voter suppression, not voter protection.”  Because the vote of the Wilson County Board of Elections was not unanimous, the ultimate fate of the plan will be decided by the North Carolina Board of Elections.  

Butterfield’s letter to the North Carolina State Board of Elections follows.
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July 11, 2014

 

 

 

Mr. Joshua B. Howard

Chairman

North Carolina State Board of Elections

441 North Harrington Street

Raleigh, North Carolina 27603

 

Dear Chairman Howard:

 

I write regarding the public meeting held by the Wilson County Board of Elections (Board) on Thursday, July 10, 2014.  I am extremely concerned about the latest actions taken by the Board because they will ultimately disenfranchise voters and stifle electoral participation. 

The Board, with a 2 – 1 vote, approved the plan establishing hours and locations for early voting for the November 2014 general election.  The plan passed by the Board would add another polling place inside the Wilson city limits bringing the total number of polling places inside the city limits to three with none located in the county.  Forty percent of the population of Wilson County lives outside the city limits which will surely be an impediment to their desire to participate in early voting.  The plan also excluded Sunday voting.  This action will further limit voter participation, particularly among African Americans and senior citizens.  I believe this move is the result of recent actions by the General Assembly to make it more difficult to vote. 

Wilson County has a history of Sunday voting including as recently as the 2012 general election and is widely supported by Wilson County residents.  Public support for Sunday voting was clearly demonstrated at yesterday’s Board meeting where two dozen residents attempted to voice support but Board Chairman Robert Brown did not let them speak prior to the vote.  Residents of Wilson County were rightfully outraged with their inability to offer public comment during Thursday’s meeting. 

I understand that because the Board’s vote was not unanimous, the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) is compelled to render a decision on the plan.  I have been informed that Board member Chip Futrell, who was the dissenting vote to yesterday’s plan, will request to speak at the NCSBE meeting on this issue and present an alternative plan for Wilson County.  I respectfully request you permit him to formally address the NCSBE so that the residents of Wilson County will have every opportunity to voice their opinion and have the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote for their candidates of choice. 

Restricting voter access amounts to voter suppression, not voter protection.  I ask that you not participate in this obvious plan to limit voter participation in Wilson County.  I request that you enact a fair plan for early voting that will make voting accessible for all citizens.

 

Thank you very much.

 

                                                                                Very truly yours,

                                                                                G. K. Butterfield

                                                                                Member of Congress

 

 

cc:           Ms. Rhonda K. Amoroso

 

                Mr. Joshua D. Malcolm

 

                Mr. Paul J. Foley

 

                Ms. Maja Knicker

 

                Ms. Kim Westbrook Strach

 

                Mr. Robert D. Brown

 

                Mr. Joel Killion

 

                Mr. Chip Futrell

 

                Ms. Rena’ Morris

 

                Ms. Tasha Bell

 

 

https://Butterfield.House.Gov

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