Early voting sees equivalent of whole precinct in first day

Published 4:44 am Friday, October 17, 2008

By Staff
Voters drawn by excitement and convenience
Staff Writer
On the first day of one-stop, early voting, 765 people voted at the Beaufort County Board of Elections’ office, said Kellie Harris Hopkins, the county’s director of elections.
That’s more than the total number of registered voters in some precincts. For example, the Hunter’s Bridge precinct has 729 registered voters, Hopkins said.
Two self-proclaimed excited voters were sisters Jessama and Jillian Allender of Washington.
Jessama Allender said she came the first day because she “couldn’t wait any longer” to cast her vote in the presidential election.
But for others, the motivation was the convenience of voting on a weekday long before the election.
Angela Brimmage, of Washington, had to “fly” over from her job in Greenville to make it to the polling place before its 7 p.m. close.
By the time Brimmage voted, there was no wait at the polls. But earlier in the day, a line stretched out the door of the elections office, located behind Beaufort County Hospital.
At noon the wait was about 20 to 25 minutes, and it had been about the same since Surry Everett showed up a little after 10 a.m. to pass out campaign literature, he said.
Most voters were through the process of getting a ballot in about a minute once they got in the door, but voters needing to register or file a change-of-address form should expect the process to take longer, Hopkins said.
During Thursday’s voting, 40 people registered to vote in North Carolina, and 18 filed change-of-address forms, Hopkins said.
The board of elections also accepted two provisional ballots and one ballot that will have to be hand-scored because the electronic ballot box was unable to read it, said Hopkins. Provisional ballots are filed by people who don’t seem to meet voting requirements, but want to make sure their vote is counted if they are later found to be legal voters.
Early voting at the Board of Elections’ office, 1308 Highland Drive, Suite 104, Washington, will continue from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday from today until Oct. 31 and on Nov. 1 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Early voting will be available at the Aurora Community Center, 442 Third St., Aurora, and in Belhaven at the Council Chambers in Old Town Hall, 213 E. Main St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on consecutive Saturdays, Oct. 18 and Oct. 25.