State Board Recommends Legislative Changes for Safe 2020 Elections Amid Pandemic

Raleigh, N.C. –  The State Board of Elections on Thursday released a list of legislative recommendations to help make voting in North Carolina safe and accessible in 2020, despite the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections, made the recommendations Thursday in a letter to Governor Roy Cooper, N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore, N.C. Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and other state legislators.

The recommendations center around three main themes:

  • Modifying the absentee by-mail voting process to ensure it is simple and accessible to North Carolina voters, and making changes designed to help county boards of elections process a significant increase in by-mail ballots;
  • Ensuring that an adequate number of poll workers are available to work at early voting sites and Election Day polling places; and
  • Providing funding to help cover costs associated with necessary changes in elections processes, the anticipated increase in by-mail voting, the sterilization and ongoing cleaning of polling places and voting equipment, and proper protections for poll workers and voters.

North Carolina has two elections remaining in 2020: a Republican second primary in the 11th Congressional District on June 23 and the statewide general election on November 3.

Brinson Bell said the plan of state elections officials is to ensure that voters have all three voting options – absentee by-mail, in-person early voting and Election Day – available to them this year.

“We believe the legislative recommendations released today would go a long way toward ensuring safe, accessible elections in 2020,” Brinson Bell said. “We look forward to continuing to work with the General Assembly to respond to the unprecedented threat facing our elections system at this time.”

Brinson Bell recently convened the Task Force on Elections & COVID-19 Response, which is made up of staff from the State Board and county boards of elections, as well as an Emergency Management representative. The Task Force met for the first time last week, and many of the legislative recommendations were discussed at that meeting.

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Author: WSIC editor