- Town officials in Carrboro, North Carolina, elected to leave Black Lives Matter flags flying at the town hall, which is an early voting site, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.
- The State Board of Elections had requested officials remove it until after the early voting period ended on Saturday, according to the report.
- The chairman of the local Republican Party said he’d received numerous complaints about the flags, which began flying above the town hall in July.
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Officials in Carrboro, North Carolina, this week refused a request from the state Board of Elections to remove Black Lives Matter flags flying at the city Town Hall, which is an early voting site.
According to a report from the Raleigh News & Observer, town officials met during a closed-door Zoom meeting on Thursday to discuss a “legal matter,” which was later revealed to be about the flags.
“After consulting with the town attorney, the Mayor and Town Council have chosen to leave the flags in place,” town spokesperson Catherine Lazorko told the News & Observer.
Waddy Davis, the chairman of the Orange County, North Carolina, Republican Party told the newspaper he’d received approximately 18 written complaints about the four flags and had also fielded verbal complaints about the flags, which the town council unanimously authorized in July, according to the report.
Davis told the News & Observer poll workers had expressed concerns about staffing the early voting site due to the flags.
“Sometimes a voter comes over there and says, ‘I’m not comfortable with that,’ ” Davis said. “‘Why aren’t they American flags?’ “
In a letter to the Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle reported by the News & Observer, State Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell requested the flags be removed until after the early voting period, which ends Saturday.
“As Executive Director of the State Board and the state’s chief elections official, I take seriously the complaint of any voter who may be offended by the presence of that symbol when exercising their right to vote. I know you, too, care about the sensibilities of all of the voters in Orange County,” the letter said.
It continued: “The flags are attached to the front of the one-stop site and therefore could be interpreted as an official endorsement by the board of elections in favor of a particular movement. While these flags may be a supported symbol of the Town of Carrboro, the one-stop early voting site is open to any Orange County voter and therefore the site must provide the opportunity for all voters to exercise their right to vote without intimidation or hindrance.”
Bell said the state had received several complaints about the flags.
According to copies of the complaints obtained by ABC 11, people charged that the flags were politically motivated.
“The BLM flags represent the views of one party,” one complaint read, according to the outlet. “Will the town council be flying all lives matter flags as well?”
Another complainant said the BLM flags were an example of “voter intimidation at its finest,” according to ABC 11. The News & Observer reported that one complaint noted the flags were past a sign that banned electioneering.
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