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Election boards working to figure out early voting hours

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KINSTON, Lenoir - Some election boards in North Carolina have not come to a decision on early voting hours.

The boards had to submit new plans since a court decision overturned North Carolina's 2013 voting laws stating it deliberately tried to discourage minority voters. That court decision means early voting now lasts 17 days instead of 10, but critics say some boards are still trying to block minority voters. In the plan submitted by the two Republicans on the Lenoir County Board of Elections, the election office would be the only voting site open from 8:30-5 p.m. on weekdays, then from 8:30 to 1 p.m. on the last Saturday. They say it saves tax dollars and avoids fraud. The second plan would have six voting sites, including Sunday voting, with longer hours. Democrat Courtney Patterson says it gives people more chances to vote.

"It hurts everybody, it doesn't only hurt African Americans, which it does, it has a disproportional affect on African Americans," Patterson said.

"We are also using taxpayers money. I'm all about voting and everyone getting a chance to vote, but I'm also against voter fraud," Tommy Pharo said.

The North Carolina Board of Elections will decide whether to choose one of the plans or a modified version.

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