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Board of Elections votes on One Stop plan, no Sunday voting hours

By: Erin Smith

The Bladen County Board of Elections met on Tuesday and voted to approved the One Stop Implementation Plan for the General Election on Nov. 8. but voted down the addition of Sunday voting hours.

In a related matter, the Board received a letter from Democratic Party Chairman Zane Singletary requesting the Board to expand One Stop Voting hours to include Sunday hours from 1 until 5 p.m. on the first Sunday of the One Stop voting period.

In his letter, Singletary wrote that by allowing Sunday voting, it would give those who attend church a chance to cast their ballots after church while they are in town and have access to transportation.

Board of Elections member Al Daniels said that the board should hear from the audience members in attendance before making a decision on the matter.

Bladen County Commissioner Michael Cogdell said that the request was the result of a discussion over the low voter turn out for the June Primary Election. He said a lot of people were unaware of the Primary election and some folks thought by adding Sunday voting it might entice some folks to come out and cast ballots.

Another audience member said, “I implore the Board to vote against it as it goes against the Word of God.”

Ray Britt, a former Board of Elections member, said that Bladen County is a leader in the percentage of voter turn out for the General Election.  He said that adding Sunday voting would upset some folks.

Bladen County Commissioner Charles Ray Peterson said, “I don’t think you should mix the politics and the church. You would be taking the poll workers out of church.”

Ludlum added, “I have talked with some poll workers and we would lose some (if Sunday voting hours are added).”

Board of elections member Brian Hehl said, “We just watched Britain exit the EU and they had a huge turnout. I don’t think having four hours on Sunday will make any difference.”

He added that he can not in good faith ask folks to give up their church services to vote on Sunday.

“Is there any history of voting on Sunday in Bladen County?” asked Daniels.

The answer was no.

Ludlum said that the board has added hours to the first Saturday in the One Stop voting period and they have extended voting until 6 p.m. 

He said, “There is tremendous opportunity to vote.”

Hehl made a motion to accept the plan as presented without the addition of Sunday voting hours. Ludlum seconded. Daniels said that he is new to the process of the Board of Elections and has just seen the plan. Daniels said he feels he has not heard from all of the voters. He abstained from the vote. The plan was adopted by a vote of 2 to 1.

In other business:

*The board received a letter from the Democratic Party Vice-Chair announcing that Zane Singletary has resigned his position as Democratic Party Chair to focus on his education. Althea Lesane will be taking over the role of Democratic Party Chair.

*The board received a letter from Republican Party Chairman Landon Bordeaux requesting the board vote against Sunday voting hours.

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