NAACP aims for 1,000 new voters

First Posted: 7/25/2014

LUMBERTON — The Unified Robeson County chapter of the NAACP has started a voter registration drive that the chapter’s president is hoping will result in 1,000 new voters registered by Sept. 1.

“That’s my goal,” President Pat McKoy said.

McKoy said that the drive, which began in Rowland two weeks ago, is already proving a success. It is part of the statewide “Forward Together Movement” being coordinated by the NAACP with assistance from the political action organization Democracy North Carolina.

According to McKoy, during the first two weeks of the drive, 100 new voters were registered. At the same time, Robeson County’s NAACP chapter picked up 10 new members, McKoy said.

McKoy said that the drive will move from Rowland to other municipalities across the county.

“If we continue to get 100 new registered voters every two weeks we will meet our goal of 1,000 new voters,” she said.

McKoy and several members of Democracy North Carolina were present at the Robeson County Board of Elections office in Lumberton on Tuesday when votes from the July 15 Democratic primary run-off election for the District 2 seat on the Robeson County Board of Commissioners were canvassed. After all votes were tallied, former Commissioner Berlester Campbell defeated incumbent Commissioner Hubert Sealey by 194 votes.

At the canvassing, McKoy presented a letter to Board of Elections members outlining the NAACP’s position on how early voting should be administered for the upcoming November General Election. The letter emphasized the need for “strong early voting plans,” as well as the NAACP’s offer to help recruit election workers to assist in the election process.

The NAACP is requesting the Board of Elections to consider setting early voting hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the week, and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on one Saturday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the second Saturday of the 10-day early voting period; hold Sunday voting hours; and locate a polling site in a rural part of the county, as well as nearby Robeson Community College and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the two members of the three-member Elections Board present — Steve Stone, the chairman, and Tiffany Peguise Powers, the secretary — discussed possible early voting polling sites to be used in November. No action on the selection of sites could be taken because board member Daniel Locklear was not present. State law requires that the board agree unanimously on selection of polling sites.

The Elections Board has scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m. Monday to discuss potential early voting sites. According to Stone, all three board members have tentatively agreed that polling sites should include the Board of Elections office in Lumberton; the senior citizens center in Fairmont; and the public library in Pembroke. Consideration is being given to opening one additional satellite polling site in either Maxton, St. Pauls or Red Springs.