LUMBERTON — The state Board of Elections will decide today whether to include Red Springs as a satellite early voting site in Robeson County for the November General Election. It also will consider whether Robeson County voters would benefit by early voting being offered on a Sunday.
The lone Democrat on the three-member Robeson County Board of Elections, Tiffany Peguise Powers, has asked the state to consider adding Red Springs to the two satellite voting sites, Pembroke and Fairmont, already approved by the Robeson County Board of Elections as early voting sites for the General Election. Powers is also wants early voting to be available from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 26, at Board of Elections office in Lumberton.
Earlier this month Powers refused to go along with Republican board members Steve Stone and Daniel Locklear and support satellite voting sites only in Fairmont and Pembroke. She also was unable to get support for one day of Sunday voting.
Because those decisions were not unanimous, Powers had the right to appeal to the state Board of Elections.
“When you look at the sites that were approved, they are in the southern part of the county,” Powers said. “A site in Red Springs would better serve voters in the north, including St. Pauls and Maxton … It would provide access to the most voters for the amount of dollars.”
Powers said that she has been approached by Red Springs residents who urged her to continue fighting to get an early voting site opened in their community.
“I’m all about inclusion,” Powers said.
The 150 hours approved for the three sites exceed the 112.25 the state is requiring polls to be open in Robeson County. Required hours are based on early voting turnout during the 2010 General Election.
“I think my plan is better, but I don’t think there will be any disenfranchised voters if we get only the sites and hours we have approved,” Powers said. “… If not successful, at least I’ve been heard.”
According to Don Wright, the state board’s general counsel, other counties with appeals before the state board dealing with polling locations, hours, and Sunday voting include Guilford, Lincoln, Richmond, Union, Wilson and Watauga.
Stone, chairman of Robeson County’s Elections Board, has voted against any additional satellite sites or Sunday voting based on the cost. The number of voters using early voting during an election where there are only two major contested races countywide — sheriff and U.S. Senate — would not warrant more polling sites and voting hours, he said.
“This is not a 2012, 2016 or a contested primary election with a large number of candidates,” Stone said.