Durham early-voting sites get Saturday extension

Early voting day to last until 3 p.m., two hours longer than scheduled

jwise@newsobserver.comOctober 31, 2012 

Durham County’s early voting polls will be open until 3 p.m. Saturday, two hours longer than originally scheduled.

The county Board of Elections voted for the extension Tuesday, after the state board asked counties to consider longer hours. The decision has no effect on other counties.

Elections director Michael Perry said he preferred sticking with the original 1 p.m. closing to give his staff plenty of time to prepare for Tuesday’s polling, and elections board member Bill Brian said he saw no compelling reason for adding hours on Saturday.

Board chairwoman Carol Anderson, though, said the state could issue a last-minute order for local boards to keep voting open and it would be easier to go ahead with the extension. The board’s third member, Dawn Baxton, said she had no objection to extra voting hours.

Legally, early voting could have been extended until 5 p.m. The 3 p.m. cutoff was a compromise, since extension required a unanimous vote.

Anyone in line at 3 p.m. will be allowed to cast a ballot, though elections officials said that could keep poll workers occupied as long as an hour and a half after closing if last-day turnout is heavy. People have been voting early in record numbers this election.

Early voting sites are the North, East and South Regional Libraries, Githens Middle School, the N.C. Central University Student Union and Duke University West Union buildings.

Wise: 919-641-5895

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