WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — A late breaking decision Thursday afternoon from the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denying our state’s request to recall the voter ID mandate this November.
The state requested the mandate not be enforced until after the 2016 election. The panel’s ruling said doing so would compromise the integrity and efficiency of voting and that could keep voters away from the polls. Local leaders say the decision is costing taxpayers money.
In addition to doing away with voter identification requirements, this decision means there will now be 17 early voting opportunities. Initially, only 10 early voting days were schedule for the general election. Pitt County Commissioner Glen Webb says during a normal election year these additional days would not be a problem. However, the county hosted a special election in 2016 for the congressional seats that were redrawn, leaving funding for staffing depleted.
“We wish that when judicial officials or legislatures are making decisions that they would take into account the fact that we have to pay for that,” says Pitt County Commissioner Glen Webb.
The additional cost to staff the extra days could run between $25,000 and $40,000 additional dollars. The commission will have to decide where that money comes from.
“On the county level, our main concern is just making sure that we have a professional, well-trained staff that pulls off a wonderful election so that we can practice our freedoms and participate in democracy,” says Webb. “We’ll scramble and we’ll get it done, it just puts us in a corner.”
The decision may also leave voters confused. The State Board of Elections reports spending nearly $3 million preparing voters to use IDs this November. This includes voter guides that are mailed to voter’s homes which currently include information on voter ID requirements.