The Aberdeen Town Board declined a request to use the Parks & Recreation building for early voting this fall. Under the terms of the written request, made by the Board of Elections of Moore County, citizens would’ve been able to vote at the site from the middle of October until a few days prior to the actual election in early November.
The board agreed to deny the request at its Monday, April 27 regular session, which was held remotely.
It wasn’t the first time the Aberdeen Board has been presented with such a request. According to Paul Sabiston, the town manager, notice of the decision would be sent to officials from Moore County.
“It’s incumbent on the board to respond to that request within a certain timeframe,” Sabiston said. “This request has been made in the past. In the past, the town has declined use of that building.”
The availability of other sites, in particular the American Legion facility, played a key role in the board’s determination. Members were also concerned that halting activities regularly taking place at the Parks & Recreation main building would hinder residents.
“That’s a pretty high-use facility,” Sabiston said. “It’s very difficult to operate if that room is out of commission for three weeks during the fall.”
“I agree that we can’t use that building,” Mayor Robbie Farrell said.
Sabiston will recommend an alternative site, something that’s been done previously.
Commissioner Teressa Beavers was pleased an alternate spot would be available.
“We know it’s going to be a big election,” Beavers said. “I’m glad they’re going to be given an alternate place that would be acceptable.”
“If we didn’t have an alternative – that’s one thing,” Farrell said.
If the Board of Elections of Moore County doesn’t agree with the formal denial, an in-person meeting could be held to discuss options.
Although the COVID-19 situation continues to limit and change how government – and the population in general – functions, Sabiston reported that things are moving forward despite challenges.
“Given our limitations, I think we’re getting our work done,” he said. “We’re making our way through this process.”
Sabiston also gave credit to those out there who don’t have the ability to work remotely, such as police and fire personnel.
“They’re doing a great job,” he said. “They’ve adjusted to this environment extremely well.”
The town manager noted the governor’s stay-at-home order has been extended until May 8. Changes regarding precautions, if the health situation shows improvement, could be coming in the near future.
“I know the governor and the state have everyone’s best interest in mind,” Sabiston said.
~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Dave Lukow.