July 11, 2016
NC State Law requires that Jackson County offer one stop voting for 464 hours in the General election. This number is unique to Jackson County and is based on the hours of operation in the 2012 election. Most counties of our size had an average of 200 hours but Jackson County has always been committed to making voting accessible to every eligible voter, going above the norm with additional one stop voting sites and extended hours. In order to operate the required 464 hours in ten days of one stop voting, we now need to be creative and consider additional options.
Each Board Member has given this serious consideration on their own and now we will come together and develop a plan that will most benefit the citizens of Jackson County while complying with our mandated hour requirements as well as being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers. This Board is committed to present a unified plan to the State Board of Elections for their approval.
Western Carolina University has requested an on-campus one stop voting site but our Board had reservations about operating two sites within one mile of each other. We questioned if this choice would be financially responsible to the taxpayers and whether the provision of such a site might be construed to mean that this would be an ongoing policy of this Board. I feel that the Board as well as the director have grappled with this dilemma for some time now and we need to move on. Personally speaking, my youngest daughter is presently serving in the Air Force and will be in the Middle East this November, far away from any convenient voting site. That being said, I know she and most others in our Armed Forces will make every effort to exercise their right to cast their ballot. It is important that all citizens realize that voting is not only a right, but also a responsibility and they should take the opportunity to vote regardless of the circumstance. After the Board researched possible options we became aware of plans for a new Cullowhee Fire Station. Due to its central location within the Cullowhee precinct, ample parking and easy access to the WCU campus, this location will provide the perfect mix of accessibility, convenience, and fiscal responsibility that will benefit ALL voters in this precinct. Unfortunately, this site will not be ready in time for this year’s election. So, for this election only, this Board is proposing to provide a One-Stop voting site on the WCU campus, provided suitable accommodations are provided by WCU. Barring any unexpected delays, all voting in the 2018 election in the Cullowhee precinct will take place at the new Cullowhee Fire Station.
In addition to the campus site, this Board is proposing to also operate a One-Stop voting site at the Savannah Community Building. This will provide an accessible and convenient voting opportunity to the voters in that precinct that live miles away from any current One-Stop site. For added convenience, all one-stop voting sites will be open evenings on weekdays and on both Saturdays. The Jackson County Board of Elections, our director Lisa Lovedahl, our dedicated office staff, and our tremendous poll workers are all committed to providing every eligible voter in Jackson County ample voting opportunities. These two additional sites and extended hours will give the 464 hours of operation for One-Stop voting that is required by State law.
The Jackson County Board of Elections
Doug Cody, Chairman
Steve Foster, Board Member
Kirk Stephens, Board Member
The One-Stop (early) voting sites in Jackson County for the 2016 General Election will be:
Board of Elections
Qualla/Wolftown Community Gym
Cullowhee Rec Center
Cashiers Rec Center
Savannah Community Building
WCU Student Union
One-Stop voting begins on Thursday, Oct. 27 and runs through Saturday, Nov. 5, except Sunday.
Exact addresses and hours will be posted in the Voting Central section of this Website.