Town hall that doubles as an Election Day polling site ordered to remove Black Lives Matter flags

 Town hall that doubles as an Election Day polling site ordered to remove Black Lives Matter flags

The town hall of Carrboro, located just outside Chapel Hill, was ordered by the North Carolina Board of Elections to remove several Black Lives Matter flags that were hanging outside following complaints from voters, a statement released Monday by the board says.

“We asked the town of Carrboro in Orange County to remove flags from an early voting site as a result of numerous complaints from voters,” the statement, provided to CNN by board spokesman Patrick Gannon, says. The complaints came in during the state’s early voting period, Gannon told CNN.

The statement explains that the board is “attempting to address any circumstances where voters feel intimidated or uncomfortable exercising their constitutional right to vote.”

Carrboro, however, refused to comply, according to the board. And though it’s too late to take away the town hall’s polling place status now — state law requires at least 30 days’ notice for affected voters — the board said it would no longer allow the town hall to be a polling site in the future if the flags continue to fly.

“(We) will take steps to ensure that this site is not used as a polling place in any future election without written assurances from town officials that the flags or other communication will not be present inside the buffer zone or voting enclosure during voting,” the board said in a statement.

Carrboro’s town spokeswoman, Catherine Lazorko, told CNN that the mayor and Town Council chose to leave the flags in place after consulting with the town attorney.

The debate comes as the country grapples with the legacy of racism in the US as Americans headed to the polls on Tuesday. President Donald Trump has referred to the Black Lives Matter movement as a “symbol of hate,” and others have argued the movement is anti-police. Supporters of the movement, which aims to eradicate systemic racism, have argued it’s about human rights and fighting racial inequality.

Lazorko says the town voted unanimously to put up the flags in July and adds that Mayor Lydia Lavelle “plans to issue a public statement on the matter on Wednesday.”

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