leestorrow's blog

Maintain and Expand Access to Early Voting in Orange County

I've been a strong advocate for early voting locations and hours in Orange County that provide adequate access for all Orange County residents in my time as a student and council member in Chapel Hill. I'm sharing below my open letter to the Board of Elections as they make decisions this week about early voting locations for this fall. Interested in making your voice heard about early voting? They'll be meeting tomorrow (July 21st) at the Board of Elections in Hillsborough at noon to determine early voting hours and locations for this fall. 

Dear Orange County Board of Elections,

 

As you consider potential early voting locations and hours for the 2015 election, I wanted to offer some thoughts and recommendations. As always, thank you for your thoughtful approach to and deliberative process in setting an early voting calendar.

 

Running for Re-Election!

Serving on the Chapel Hill Town Council has been an enormous privilege. We’ve accomplished a lot over the past four years, but as residents remind me every day, there’s still a lot we can do to improve and strengthen our community.

That’s why I’m announcing the launch of my campaign for re-election to the Chapel Hill Town Council.

I’m proud of what we have achieved over the last four years. A stronger food truck ordinance, expanded access to our Community Center pool and a single-family stormwater ordinance that actually works all have had a positive impact for our community. The Glen-Lennox development agreement, new zoning in Ephesus-Fordham, as well as  exciting projects in downtown like LaUNCh Chapel Hill and a redeveloped University Square will bring new jobs and expand our economic tax base.

Town Hall Series Starts Next Week

Starting next week, I'll be hosting a series of four Town Hall events that each focus on a different issue in our community: downtown Chapel Hill, social and environmental justice, economic development and working together in Orange County. 

I want these events to be an opportunity for residents to engage and take an active role in shaping the future of our town. All you need to bring is an open mind and ideas for how we can build a more vibrant, livable community. Here's the schedule:

Issue: Downtown Chapel Hill
When: Wednesday, Feb. 25th at 5:30 p.m.
Where: DSI Comedy, 62 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Click here to see full event details and RSVP for the downtown Chapel Hill Town Hall.

Issue: Social and Environmental Justice
When: Saturday, Feb. 28th at 1 p.m.
Where: Rogers Road Community Center, 101 Edgar Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Recap of Orange County Board of Elections Meeting

This morning I attended the Orange County Board of Elections meeting where they determined the early voting plan for the Fall 2014 elections. I have been attending BOE meetings in Orange County for several years, and this was by far the largest turnout (over 50 people by my count) I have ever seen.

This meeting was called to consider adjusting the fall early voting plan to include voting hours on Sunday. At the board's meeting a week ago, some citizens representing Jews for Justice requested expansion to Sunday to provide a non-weekday voting option that didn't fall on the Jewish holy day, Saturday. The meeting opened with the Chair asking the audience to try to keep their comments brief. The board intended to limit public comment to 30 minutes, with each side receiving 15 minutes for their speakers to speak. I spoke in support of extending voting hours to Sunday, as did Hillsborough Commissioner Jenn Weaver and Carrboro Board of Aldermen Member Randee Haven- O'Donnell. Several other citizens spoke in support, including representatives from Jews for Justice, the League of Women Voters, and the Orange County Democratic Party.

Expand Voting Access on Weekends

Tomorrow the Orange County Board of Elections will adopt a plan for early voting for the fall election. The Board will consider both the locations and hours for early voting. When it comes to locations, the board should keep the same voting locations used during the spring primary to maintain consistency. After considering a number of options, the plan adopted for the primary included five early voting sites, including a location in rural Orange County at Master’s Garden Preschool, and a location adjacent to UNC’s campus at North Carolina Hillel. I’ve been a strong advocate for securing a site that is accessible to the faculty, staff, and students who attend UNC, and while NC Hillel might not be the perfect site, it is accessible to pedestrians from UNC and we should maintain stability from the primary.

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