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Early voting period changes in North Carolina

Overriding Gov. Roy Cooper's veto, the House put into effect a law that shifts the early voting period back one day, ending the Friday before Election Day instead of Saturday. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Lawmakers in Raleigh passed a law changing North Carolina’s early voting period.

Overriding Gov. Roy Cooper's veto, the House put into effect a law that shifts the early voting period back one day, ending the Friday before Election Day instead of Saturday.

The period still runs 17 days, but adds uniform hours for all one-stop early voting centers statewide from 7 a.m.- 7 p.m.

“I can see the benefits in that, as well,” Haywood County Board of Elections Director Robert Inman said.

The non-profit Democracy North Carolina said that last Saturday was used disproportionately by African-Americans.

“That last Saturday has always been a very busy day in Haywood County for everyone regardless of demographic,” Inman said.

“They shouldn't take away opportunity to be able to vote. It should be whatever is necessary that you have to be able to vote whether it's Monday, Friday, Saturday,” said Walter Bryson, an African-American resident who lives in Waynesville.

But Bryson also said maintaining 17 days of early voting from Oct, 17-Nov. 2 and adding hours is ample time to vote early.

“If you don't go vote during those 17 days, then that's just an excuse,” he said.

Inman said with the change, there are issues to consider, like staffing and schedules.

“Try to find out if we do have the precinct officials that we need,” he said.

Haywood County has three early voting locations -- The Senior Center, Clyde’s Municipal Building and the Canton Library.

Inman said his board will meet July 10 to discuss adjustments.

Regardless of the change, Bryson will be at the ballot box early.

“If you don't vote, you don't have a say so in anything,” he said.

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