Making a difference

Published 1:42 am Tuesday, September 30, 2008

By Staff
With Election Day a little more than a month away, voters should be giving careful consideration to what candidates have to say about important issues. People who are not registered to vote but are qualified to do so should make it a point to register in time so they can vote on Nov. 4.
No endorsements here, other than endorsing the concept of people voting so they have a say in governing themselves and making a difference on Election Day. No statements about which candidate to support. Plenty of statements about exercising the right to vote.
At the national level, issues such as the economy, war against terrorism, affordable health care and offshore drilling are being debated. At the state levels, issues such as the economy, offshore drilling, affordable health care and regaining the state’s titles as “the good roads state” are begging for attention by the state’s government.
At the county level, voters will be electing commissioners and school-board members.
Those who are elected commissioners will face issues such as building a new county jail and what happens when revaluation results in some values of properties skyrocketing, which in turn could result in skyrocketing property taxes. Those who are elected school-board members will face issues such as finding programs that will improve students’ academic performances.
With the advent of absentee ballots and no-excuse, one-stop voting, being able to make their ballots is much easier these days for voters. Anything that makes it easy for voters to mark ballots or for qualified people to register to vote should be encouraged and made available as much as possible.
The process for voting by absentee ballot is under way. It began Sept. 15. The process allows people, including many military personnel stationed overseas, who for whatever reason will be absent from their precinct on Election Day to participate in the election process. The last day to ask for an absentee ballot by mail is Oct. 28. Absentee ballots must be received by the elections board by 5 p.m. Nov. 3, the day before the Nov. 4 general election.
Since it was first introduced in North Carolina, no-excuse, one-stop voting has gained in popularity, according to state and local elections officials. This elections season across North Carolina, no-excuse, one-stop voting begins Oct. 16 and concludes Nov. 1.
About this time last year, North Carolina implemented a policy that allows qualified residents to register to vote and mark ballots on the same day during the one-stop 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-stop voting period or the days between the end of the one-stop voting period and Election Day or on the day of primary elections.
Area boards of elections are making it more convenient for voters during the no-excuse, one-stop voting period.
To make it even more convenient for qualified people to register to vote during the no-excuse, one-stop voting period, Beaufort County voters may mark ballots at the Board of Elections office, 1308 Highland Drive, Washington, from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. weekdays from Oct. 16 to Oct. 31. One-stop voting will be conducted in Aurora at the Aurora Community Center, 442 Third St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on two Saturdays, Oct. 18 and Oct. 25. One-stop voting will be conducted in Belhaven in the council chambers at the old town hall (213 E. Main St.) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 18 and Oct. 25.
Beaufort County voters may take advantage of one-stop voting at any of the one-stop voting sites.
The elections office in Martin County (305 E. Main St., Room 120) will conduct one-stop voting from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays during the one-stop voting period and from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Nov. 1. Martin said voters will be able to participate in one-stop voting in Robersonville from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays during the one-stop voting period and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 1. The site for one-stop voting in Robersonville will be the W.C. Chance East End Schools Cultural Center, 304 Cochran St.
With these policies and extended hours in place, there is no excuse for a voter not to mark a ballot. Voting helps bring about change.
It’s time for a change. It’s time for voters to determine who will provide the leadership in making that change.