Carrboro Alderman Dan Coleman contacted the Orange County Board of Commissioners on Monday to question why Carrboro Town Hall was not included as an early voting site for the upcoming 2010 primaries.
This year, there are only two early voting sites for the primaries: the Board of Elections in Hillsborough and Morehead Planetarium on East Franklin Street.
In his e-mail, Coleman included a chart from the Board of Elections Web site from the May 2008 primary. In that election, there were four voting sites in the county: Hillsborough, Carrboro Town Hall, Morehead Planetarium and Seymour Center. Of the four, Carrboro Town Hall was the second most popular polling site.
“My understanding is that this is primarily a financial decision,” Coleman wrote. “There are many ways to cut costs without closing a site whole hog.”
Commissioner Alice Gordon wrote back, asking that County Manager Frank Clifton provide Coleman with more information. Clifton contacted the Board of Elections.
“The Board of Elections met on February 4 and voted to have two one-stop voting sites for the May Primary primarily due to budget considerations,” wrote Tracy Reams, director of the Orange County Board of Elections.
Reams said Town Hall opens at 8:30 a.m., thirty minutes after early voting begins.
“The Board's wish was to be consistent with the hours for early voting to eliminate voter confusion,” she wrote.
Reams said Town Hall has involved logistical problems in the past.
“We are only allowed to reserve the space during the day which required us to break down and remove voting machines, booths, table and computer connections as much as 2 or 3 times a week,” she wrote.
“We have had issues due to computer connections and printers not working properly after they were installed and tested because of having to vacant the space.”
Reams also noted other counties were not offering as many sites this year “due to budget restrictions.”
She said Durham and Wake counties are only offering early voting at their respective Board of Elections offices. She said the Orange County included Morehead Planetarium as it traditionally has had the most votes cast and caters to students and voters in the southern part of the county.