TAKE 5: Lee elections office adjusting to changes
This week, we Take 5 with Nancy Kimble, the director of the Lee County Board of Elections, about the upcoming primary and general elections and other election-related issues. Kimble spent more than 20 years in Sanford before moving back to her native Ohio in 1992, then returned to Sanford in 2003. She was named director of the board of elections in 2005. She has four children and 10 grandchildren.
How does the new law making city and board of education races partisan change things for you and your staff?
The major change for us will be adding an election to our schedule. With this becoming a primary election, we will also have the possibility of a second primary in October if needed. We are in the process of what I call “the changing of the guard,” where our chief judges will be Republican instead of Democrats, and training will begin much earlier and the window for training will be much shorter due to the September date of the primary. All of the different steps that we take to prepare for an election such as coding and testing of machines and training of poll workers will be doubled as well.
What have you and your staff heard from folks on previous election days about the recent debate over voter ID? What do you personally think about it?
In the past couple of years, since this issue was voted on in the General Assembly, we have heard a lot of comments both pro and con. It seems that most people have an opinion on this one. We already have a number of voters who present their ID when coming to vote just because they want to do so. It is not required at the present time … If this bill becomes law, our board, staff and poll workers will comply and require voter ID when voting.
(Editor's note: the General Assembly on Thursday approved a bill that would require voters to show identification at the polls, as well as shortening the early voting period and eliminating one-stop voting, among other changes. The bill must still be signed by Gov. Pat McCrory.)
Recent voter fraud charges levied in Lee County … what's the status of those and how often do you hear similar complaints?
Information regarding the instance of voter fraud that was covered in The Herald has been forwarded to the state Board of Elections investigator and is an ongoing investigation. We get very few complaints of voter fraud in Lee County. The Board of Elections and staff work very hard to make sure that voter information is up to date for an election and that any complaints are dealt with in a timely manner. Our board does not investigate voter fraud allegations but sends all information to the investigators at the state Board of Elections. They are trained to do investigations where we are not.
What do people need to know about the primary election in September?
The primary election for Sanford only will be on Tuesday, Sept. 10. We have both a Democratic primary and a Republican primary. Unaffiliated voters can vote by declaring that they want to vote Democrat or Republican. Absentee voting by mail will begin on Aug. 12 and end on Sept. 3. Requests for an absentee-by-mail ballot are now being accepted at the board office.
Voter registration for the primary election will end at 5 p.m. on Aug. 16. No registrations or party changes will be accepted for the primary after that date. At this time, one-stop early voting will begin on Aug. 22 and end on Saturday, Sept. 7. Sept. 7 is the only Saturday that we will conduct voting. Early voting will be held only be at the Board of Elections office at 225 S. Steele St. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Saturday, Sept. 7, early voting will held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
With this being a primary election, there is the possibility of having a second primary which would be on Tuesday, Oct. 8. No voter registrations or party changes would be accepted between the primary and second primary.
And for the November election?
The municipal election for Sanford and Broadway will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Absentee ballots will be available starting on Oct. 7. Voter registration will end on Oct. 11. One-stop early voting will only be available at the Board of Elections office at 225 S. Steele St.