There’s never a more exciting time for Board of Elections meetings in North Carolina – and around the country – than right before and right after an election.
The Guilford County Board of Elections meetings, in fact, often go largely ignored at other times, and, at many meetings, no one except a stray reporter will show up. On Tuesday, Oct. 20 the Guilford County Board of Elections is holding a meeting to approve and disapprove absentee ballots, and, this year, that would no doubt draw a crowd, but due to COVID-19 only ten spectators will be allowed in the room.
The meeting will be held at 2 p.m. in the lower ground level of the Guilford County Courthouse in downtown Greensboro at 201 S. Eugene St. in Room L12. That site was chosen to offer extra security given the nature of the meeting that day.
At the meeting, the Guilford County Board of Elections will be making decisions on absentee ballots that have been received. The votes won’t be counted yet, but the ballots will be opened and fed into an electronic tabulation machine that will hold its secrets until Election Day.
The board will, among other things, make sure the ballots are signed and witnessed, and board members will check to assure that the ballots meet other criteria and are eligible ballots.
The meeting is expected to be a long one – in fact, Board of Elections officials said that it is likely to be recessed and continue on the following day.
A meeting announcement that in non-pandemic years would say, essentially “Come one, come all,” states, “To ensure the safety of our community and staff, and in compliance with the State of North Carolina Stay-At-Home order, this special meeting will be open for limited in-person citizen participation.”
The room will be limited to in-person citizen attendance of 10 people who preregister. Of course, anyone can view the meeting remotely.
The number of reporters is also limited. In this case, four members of the media who preregister will be allowed in.
People may watch and/or listen to the meeting through GoToWebinar with a computer, tablet or smartphone. They can visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3722989663000128015 and click the “Join Webinar” button at the time of the meeting.
Those who want to attend in-person can register to do so by submitting an email request to Guilford County Board of Elections Director Charlie Collicutt at email@example.com by 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 20. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis and additional social distancing guidelines will be in effect and entrance credentials will be required.
Typically, the agenda for this type of meeting doesn’t allow for public comments. However, written comments can be submitted via email to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or via mail to Guilford County Elections Director, 301 W. Market Street – 1st Floor, Greensboro, NC, 27401.
Comments received by noon on Oct. 20 will be archived in the meeting files.