NAACP wants early voting hours extended in Madison County

JACKSON, Tenn. — The Jackson-Madison County NAACP Branch asked the Madison County Election Commission to extend early voting hours for the 2018 election.

“We’ve got to do something different in order to get people out to the polls to vote,” Jackson-Madison County NAACP Branch President Harrell Carter said.

In 2016, people in Madison County could vote early from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

“Most working people I know go to work before 9 a.m., don’t get off until after 4 p.m., so it’s an inconvenience,” Carter said.

The NAACP said it wants those hours extended weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We normally are open for 90 hours during the early voting season, and that is more than twice what many counties in West Tennessee do,” Madison County Administrator of Elections Kim Buckley said.

Buckley said the law requires them to be open at least three hours a day during the early voting period.

“We stay open seven hours each weekday and three hours on Saturday,” she said.

Buckley said the election commission determines early voting hours and treats each election differently.

“No early voting hours have been determined yet for any of 2018,” she said.

Buckley said she expects the issue to come up at their February meeting. Carter said he plans to be there.

“Voting is an important component of our democracy,” he said. “If we don’t have a voice, then we don’t have choices.”

Carter said they would also like to see more polling places for early voting and the option to cast ballots on Sunday.

In 2016, Madison County extended early voting hours until 6 p.m. on the last two days. The Madison County Election Commission meets again at 1 p.m. Feb. 26.

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