Last week’s gathering of the Bladen County Board of Elections had plenty of pre-meeting hype that included two public forums to discuss merging the two voting precincts in Bladenboro together and the two precincts in Elizabethtown together.
But even though the Board of Election’s meeting lasted more than an hour, it was nothing short of anti-climactic.
After covering both public meetings, as well as the BOE’s meeting last week, it appears to us that the board’s three members — Chairman Bobby Ludlum and members Brian Hehl and Al T. Daniels — were hardly on the fence about how they would vote long before last week’s meeting was planned.
But since we were gathering information about the proposal right along with the public, we weren’t really sure about whether it was a good proposal or not. Like the BOE members, however, we knew before they met — based on their reasons and the public’s responses — that we would support the proposal.
Taking into consideration where the opposition was coming from — primarily the black community and Democrats — we were not surprised to see far too much time get wasted during the public forums with claims of racism. And it is a shame that Daniels, who is on the board presumably because he has some sense, fell right into that trap.
The proposition was made for two reasons — to avoid confusion on election day and to save the county money.
Just looking at the numbers, where there are 3,975 registered voters in Bladenboro and 4,512 in Elizabethtown, there is no reason a single voting location can’t handle the load — especially when you consider how few registered voters actually go to the polls.
So merging the dilapidated Spaulding Monroe building precinct with the Bladenboro Historical Building site makes a lot of sense. As does merging the precinct from the King Street gymnasium with the site at the Powell-Melvin Building to create a single precinct at the Blden County Public Library.
And though that will mean, some folks will have to get used to casting a ballot at the new location, which we feel sure won’t cause voters any hassles with traffic jams or GPS troubles. The two new precincts are centrally located and well known with plenty of parking.
All of this hinges on the approval from the State Board of Elections. And though we don’t have a crystal ball to say when that will happen, we are certain it’s not a question of if, but when.
We applaud two-thirds of the local Board of Elections for cutting through the divisive nonsense and making a logical decision.