One-stop voting starts Thursday

Published 10:14 am Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Staff Writer

The ever-popular one-stop early voting begins statewide at 8 a.m. Thursday.
Registered voters may visit their local boards-of-elections offices to mark ballots for the upcoming primary election.
The Beaufort County Board of Elections is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, related Kellie Harris Hopkins, county elections director. The board’s office will be open for one-stop voting from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. May 1, when the early voting period ends.
Of course, the primary is the election in which partisan voters help select their parties’ nominees for the Nov. 2 general election.
As always, unaffiliated voters in North Carolina may choose to participate in either of the major parties’ primaries, or they may fill out a nonpartisan ballot that lists judicial races.
The nonpartisan ballot for Beaufort County will feature statewide N.C. Court of Appeals races and a District Court contest in the 2nd Judicial District.
The partisan ballots will be more extensive, with U.S. Senate and congressional bouts placing at the top, with others following, including the judicial races.
Friday was the last day to change party affiliation ahead of the May 4 primary, Hopkins said.
Voters who missed a registration deadline may register and vote during one-stop voting, according to Hopkins. The deadline to change affiliation has passed, she reiterated.
If a voter’s address has changed, the fastest way to have new paperwork processed is to fill it out during the one-stop period, she said.
Asked for her annual or biennial prediction of voter turnout, Hopkins said she had discussed that point with Tom Payne, chairman of the Beaufort County Board of Elections.
“I don’t think it’ll be unusually high,” she said. “It’ll be low to moderate turnout.”
Local party organizations are gearing up to sway voters during the one-stop span of time in this crucial midterm year.
The Beaufort County Republican Party has announced a “We the People Voter Assistance Program.”
In addition to urging voters to go to the polls for the primary, the GOP is offering free rides to voters during one-stop voting and on Election Day, reads a news release.
The party’s headquarters, located on Washington’s Market Street, is open from noon until 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
“This year, more than ever, it’s important for the citizens of Beaufort County to go to the polls and express their opinion on the status of our country,” the news release reads.
The Beaufort County Democratic Party is providing voter-registration opportunities throughout the county, and the main thrust of that initiative will begin after the primary, according to Alice Mills Sadler, party chairwoman.
The Democrats’ headquarters, also located on Market Street, will open officially at 6 p.m. Friday during Music in the Streets, related Ann Cherry, party secretary.
The party’s county convention is slated for 10 a.m. Saturday in the Superior Court wing of the Beaufort County Courthouse.