Guilford County government, like many other things in the state of North Carolina, is gradually starting to return – somewhat – back to the state of things in the days before the pandemic.
One clear indication is that the Guilford County Board of Elections is holding a meeting soon in which up to 30 members of the public will be allowed to speak in the same room as the elections officials.
At times over the years, the board has held its meetings in a very small elections room that’s really more of a large storage closet. However, the board’s Tuesday, June 16 meeting will be held in the spacious Guilford County Commissioners’ meeting room on the second floor of the Old Guilford County Court House at 301 W. Market St. in Greensboro,
The meeting room will be limited to in-person citizen participation for the first thirty speakers who preregister. One caveat is that the participants will only be allowed in for the speakers from the floor segment.
This year is a very big year for the county’s elections office and board, and a spotlight will be on them from now until November. The four board members as well as elections staff want to hear input from the people who’ll be doing the voting.
According to a statement from Guilford County announcing the meeting, “The Guilford County Board of Elections remains committed to providing an open and transparent public process during the COVID-19 pandemic.” It adds, “To ensure the safety of our community and staff, and in compliance with the State of North Carolina Stay-At-Home order, the next regular meeting of the Board …will be open for limited in-person citizen participation for the ‘Speakers From the Floor’ portion of the meeting.”
Of course, anyone who wants to watch the actual business of the meeting can do so. They can view it using the virtual platform, GoToWebinar. The meeting will be streaming at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4572869267470775053.
Since the pandemic hit, various county boards and commissions have tried different strategies to remain connected to the public. Many meetings of lesser-known boards have simply been canceled during the pandemic.
The Guilford County Board of Commissioners hasn’t had a great deal of success allowing people to call-in to the meetings to speak from the floor. At times, the technology failed and, after awhile, people seemed to lose interest in giving virtual speeches. The Guilford County Board of Commissioners public hearing on the 2020-2021 budget – a hearing that sometimes draws hundreds of speakers – only had three speakers by phone this year.
Anyone who wants to speak at the Board of Elections meeting should send an email to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 16. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, and additional social distancing guidelines will apply. Entrance credentials will be provided at the time of registration.