Early voters set recordPublished 10:58pm Thursday, October 18, 2012
Beaufort County voters are standing in long lines to vote early, in what could result in a record number of early voters before early voting ends Nov. 3, said Kellie Harris Hopkins, the county’s elections director.
“No doubt,” she replied Thursday afternoon when asked if it is likely that more Beaufort County voters will mark ballots during the early voting period for this year’s general election than in previous primaries and elections.
A record for the number of Beaufort County voters marking ballots on the first day of an early voting period was set Thursday.
At 12:39 p.m. Thursday, 564 voters had voted at the Beaufort County Board of Elections office. By 2:45 p.m. Thursday, that number had jumped to 808 voters, “with the booths full and a line out the door,” Hopkins reported. The 1,100th voter fed her ballot into the vote tabulator about three minutes after 6 p.m.
When voting ended at 7 p.m. Thursday, 1,135 voters had marked ballots that day.
Some voters waited from 20 minutes to 30 minutes before completing the voting process.
“In a presidential election year, you’re always going to have a higher turnout because of the media attention and just the public’s view of it being a very important election. I believe that’s one thing,” Hopkins said when asked to explain the turnout for this year’s early voting period. “Two, I believe one-stop voting has become such a popular option that more and more people are going to be taking advantage of one-stop voting.”
Hopkins said the more than 1,000 voters who marked ballots Thursday equated to about 3 percent of the voters in the county marking ballots on the first day of this early voting period.
Voters may use the following one-stop absentee options to vote early:
• Beaufort County Board of Elections, 1308 Highland Drive, Suite 104 — Today, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Oct. 22-26, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Oct. 29-Nov. 2, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Nov. 3, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Aurora Community Center, 442 Third St. — Oct. 23, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Oct. 30, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Nov. 3, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Belhaven’s John A. Wilkinson Center, 144 W. Main St. — Oct. 23, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Oct. 30, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Nov. 3, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
At times Thursday, voters waited in a line that stretched from the front door of the Board of Elections into a parking lot where some candidates were campaigning.