Counties scramble to lock in early voting sites

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All NC counties were required to submit their early voting plans by the end of business day Thursday.

Changes to voting rules in North Carolina had some counties finding early voting locations somewhat later in the game than preferred.

By the end of business day on Thursday all North Carolina counties had to have their early voting plans submitted to the North Carolina State Board of Elections. Brian Neesby with the state Board of Elections said all counties met that deadline.

In Durham County, the board of election passed its plan with a unanimous vote and highlighted some changes compared to 2012, the last time early voting lasted for 17 days vs. 10.

READ MORE: NC VOTER ID LAW STRUCK DOWN; MCCRORY VOWS TO APPEAL

In 2012, Durham County had seven early voting locations. This year, it will have 13. For the first week only five of those locations will be open, with longer hours.

The interim director cited some difficulties in securing locations once they were told early voting would be extended. He said some sites already had events scheduled, so that's why they extended hours at the planned locations, even on the weekends.

SEE MORE: DURHAM COUNTY ELECTION SITES WITH EARLY VOTING SCHEDULE (.pdf)

In Wake County, there will be 20 early voting sites. However, only one location will be open for the first seven days of early voting. That will be the Wake County Board of Elections Office on Salisbury Street in downtown Raleigh. That location will also include weekend hours.

The rest of the 19 locations will open after the first week.

SEE MORE: WAKE COUNTY ELECTION SITES WITH EARLY VOTING SCHEDULE (.pdf)

This current plan submitted to the state was voted in by Wake County election board members in a 2-1 vote.

The 'no' vote comes from board member Mark Ezzell. He ended up submitting his own, alternate plan to the state that would have nine sites open for that first week, vs. just the one downtown location.

"Wake County deserves better than that, we are the largest county in terms of total number of voters in the state, we have a large number of people who are going to be interested in this election," Ezzell said.

Neesby, with the North Carolina State Board of Elections, said they do not yet have a meeting scheduled to finalize the submitted early voting plans from the counties.

Early voting runs from October 20th to November 5th.

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