The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday August 8th

Voting 102: Board of Elections should keep student schedules in mind when setting poll hours

The last two and a half weeks of October Morehead Planetarium and Science Center will open its doors as a one-stop early voting site for 102 hours during 15 days.

Early voting is a great way to make voting accessible and convenient to the community and we applaud the Orange County Board of Elections for doing so.

But it should have done a better job of catering the process to the UNC student voters.

The Board of Elections will keep polling places open for all three Saturdays during early voting including a full business day's hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on two of those Saturdays.

The addition of Saturdays to the early voting period by the Orange County Board of Elections is a productive step toward giving UNC students and Chapel Hill residents sufficient opportunity to take part in early voting at a convenient location.

 Two other one-stop early voting sites in Orange County will remain open from noon until 7 p.m most days.

The schedules of the five Orange County polling sites represent a commendable effort to accommodate voters with an array of varied work schedules.

But many students face class conflicts between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. And in the same way the BOE accommodates for those with daytime work schedules the alternate noon to 7 p.m. voting period would allow for students to go to the polls after class.

Because state law requires official hiring and training of all voting site employees funding for wages of volunteers puts a cost limitation on the hours of one-stop early voting.

During the primaries polls were opened one hour later in the evening during early voting. Funding and parking issues have prevented this in the fall and though Saturdays have been added the extra hour during business days has been eliminated.

In this most important election year the Board of Elections must not forget to accommodate students many of whom will be voting for the very first time.

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