Forsyth County Board of Elections adds 2 early voting sites — but not WSSU

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- After a contentious two-to-one vote on an early voting plan in the Forsyth County Board of Elections in July excluded the Anderson Center at Winston-Salem State University as a voting location, the board meeting Thursday night was packed with concerned citizens.

At times it was raucous, contentious and loud. The three-member board of elections unanimously reached a deal on an early voting plan for the general election.

"Neither side got exactly what we wanted but we got a good plan I think for Forsyth County," said board member Flemming El-Amin.

The plan includes 17 early voting sites -- two more than what the board passed in the last meeting. El-Amin asked for early voting locations at St. Paul's United Methodist Church and the Sprague Street Recreation Center to be added to the 15 sites already part of the plan.

"Seventeen extends it a little bit more than I would prefer but then in a compromise -- in a true compromise -- not everyone likes the end result," said board chairman Ken Raymond. Raymond says increasing voting locations is risky. "What if something goes wrong on election day? What if machines break down at one or two or three voting sites? Do we have machines to replace them?" he said.

The plan still does not include a location at Winston-Salem State University -- what many who came out to the meeting begged for. The site was removed after the 2012 election after claims of voter fraud.

"Well for the sake of compromise I guess it's OK, but I'm still not happy that we didn't have a location on a college campus," said Linda Sutton, a Winston-Salem resident who came out to the meeting.

Board member El-Amin said he is prepared to work 24-7 to get a polling site set up at WSSU on election day.

"I'm willing to fight to make sure that it's restored for the university and the whole community, not just for students," El-Amin said.

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