Rockingham County Early Voting Site Again Open, After NC Democratic Party Sues

Oct 31, 2020
Originally published on October 31, 2020 9:07 pm

Updated at 6 p.m.

On Friday afternoon, Superior Court Judge Edwin Wilson granted a temporary restraining order mandating that an early voting site in Reidsville reopen on Saturday from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. The site was closed for several hours on Monday.

The preliminary injunction partially grants what the North Carolina Democratic Party was seeking in its lawsuit. Wilson did not grant a request for the site to be open on Sunday, which the state party had also sought.

Published at 2:40 p.m.

The North Carolina Democratic Party filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the Rockingham County Board of Elections for closing an early voting site indefinitely.

The state party said the local board of elections unlawfully closed a site on Barnes Road in Reidsville that is used predominantly by Democratic voters.

In its court filing, the Democratic Party is seeking a preliminary injunction requiring Rockingham County to re-open the early voting site at the Salvation Army Community Center immediately and to, “make up for the hours it was unlawfully closed."

The lawsuit also asks the court to mandate an extension of early voting on Saturday, Oct. 31 until 5 p.m., from the previously scheduled 3 p.m. closure. It also calls for the site to hold early voting at that location from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, in order to make up for the closure. Early voting is scheduled to conclude statewide on Saturday.

The early voting site in Reidsville, NC was shuttered for several hours on Monday. The stated reason was for cleaning after three poll workers called in sick. According to multiple people, there have been at least three positive cases of COVID-19 traced back to the site.

However, multiple Rockingham County voters, volunteers and poll watchers who spoke with WUNC said the closure is unnecessary.

“This is a result of a failure of the board to act,” said Rockingham County resident Meredith Bailey, speaking about the Rockingham County Board of Elections. “The board failed to prepare for this moment. They didn’t have a deep bench to staff the site.”

Ivan Maldonado lives in Reidsville and spoke to WUNC News Friday by phone. Maldonado says he applied to be a poll worker in early September but after filing out an on-line application he never heard back. On Friday morning he tried to vote at the Salvation Army Community Center early voting location.

“It’s weird because when you go on-line to check your status and see if you can vote, that’s where they kept sending me but when I showed up today they told me it was closed and I had to go elsewhere," said Maldonado.

He said he traveled to another early voting site in Rockingham County which was about 15 minutes away to cast his ballot.

Calls to two members of the Rockingham County Board of Elections were not immediately returned.

A court hearing was scheduled to take place early Friday afternoon in Rockingham County.

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