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Board of Elections changing locations

By Staff
Filing period for candidates will kick off at noon Monday
By MIKE VOSS
Contributing Editor
Anyone seeking to file for a seat on the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners on Monday, the first day of the filing period, must keep in mind the Beaufort County Board of Elections office is moving.
On Monday, the Board of Elections will be at a new location — 1308 Highland Drive, Building B. That building is part of the former Tideland Mental Health complex. Currently, the elections board’s office is at 132 N. Market St., Washington. This week, the board is making the transition from its existing location to its new location.
The move will allow the board to better serve county residents, said Kellie Harris Hopkins, elections director for Beaufort County, on Wednesday. She anticipates no problems when the board’s office opens at its new location Monday.
The move will provide more space for one-stop voting and allow the board to store all of its voting machines and related equipment at one location, she said. Currently, voting machines and related equipment are stored in secured locations away from the board’s existing office.
Should the move result in computer problems or other difficulties, the elections office will have back-up systems in place to address those problems and difficulties, she said. With the filing period beginning Monday, Hopkins would like for the move to go smoothly.
The filing period begins at noon Monday and ends at noon Feb. 29.
Primaries will be conducted May 6. The last day to register to vote in the primaries is April 11. Absentee voting begins March 17 and ends April 29. One-stop voting begins April 17 and ends May 3. Primary winners advance to the general election, which is set for Nov. 4.
Qualified residents may register to vote and mark ballots on the same day during the one-voting period. That procedure was used for the first time in North Carolina during the 2007 elections. Because that procedure is permitted only during the early-voting period, it cannot be used on election day, before the one-voting period or the days between the end of the one-voting period and election day.
In Beaufort County, four seats on the Board of Commissioners are up for election. Those seats are currently held by Chairman Jay McRoy, Vice Chairman Jerry Langley, Robert Cayton and Hood Richardson.
Four seats on the Beaufort County Board of Education also are up for grabs. Those seats are held by Eltha Booth, District 1; John White, District 3; Mac Hodges, District 5; and Chairman Robert Belcher, District 7.
Beaufort County voters also will choose a register of deeds. Jennifer Leggett is the current register of deeds.
On the county’s Soil and Water Conservation District, one seat is up for election. That seat is held by Tracy Warren.
In Judicial District 2, two district-court judgeships are up for elections. Those judgeships are held by James Hardison and Michael Paul. Beaufort County is in that district.
Hyde, Martin and Washington counties will have similar races. Their filing periods and primary-related deadlines are the same as those in Beaufort County and the rest of the state.
In addition to the races for governor, lieutenant governor and the Council of State, North Carolina voters will mark ballots in the presidential, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives races this year. The Senate seat held by Elizabeth Dole is up for election. All of the state’s seats in the House are up for grabs this year, including the 1st Congressional District seat held by Rep. G.K. Butterfield and the 3rd Congressional District seat held by Rep. Walter B. Jones.
North Carolina voters also will mark ballots in state legislative and judicial races. Sen. Marc Basnight represents state Senate District 1, of which Beaufort County is a member. Rep. Arthur Williams represents state House District 6, of which Beaufort County is a member.
The Council of State includes the state’s attorney general, auditor, agriculture commissioner, insurance commissioner, labor commissioner, secretary of state and superintendent of public instruction.