One-stop voting flourishes

Published 1:09 am Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Staff Writer

Nearly 3,300 Beaufort County voters had voted “early” at the county elections offices on Highland Drive in Washington by 2:45 p.m. Tuesday.
Ballot-marking during the one-stop voting period appeared on pace to exceed one-stop turnouts in previous midterm election years, officials said.
Asked whether she considered the turnout above average so far, elections chief Kellie Harris Hopkins didn’t hesitate: “For an off-year general election, yeah.”
The county had opened two satellite-voting centers to accommodate one-stop voters, but, reportedly, turnout was much lighter at those locations.
County voters also were highly motivated to show up in 2008, when 6,235 of them turned out early to vote for Republican John McCain and 5,688 showed up to vote for Democrat Barack Obama.
Beaufort County is home to more than 31,000 registered voters, according to elections records.
One-stop voting continues at the elections offices through Saturday, when it ends at 1 p.m.
A couple of candidates opted to campaign outside those offices Tuesday.
One of the office-seekers was Bill Cook, a Republican running against state Rep. Arthur Williams, D-Beaufort.
Cook handed out campaign literature with Beau, his 3-year-old, yellow golden retriever, leashed at his side.
“I think it helps both sides,” Cook said of one-stop balloting. “It’s more of a convenience than anything.”
Also on hand was Democrat Sonya Shamseldin, one of six candidates — three Democrats, two Republicans and one unaffiliated hopeful — vying for three available slots on the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners.
“I think it’s important because, over the last couple of election cycles, we’ve seen that one-stop has actually grown,” Shamseldin commented. “This seems to be the poll to be working.”
Shamseldin added she’d stopped by the satellite voting sites in Aurora and Belhaven on Tuesday.
Voters who elect to not take part in one-stop voting will get their chance to vote next Tuesday, Election Day.
For more information on one-stop voting, call the Board of Elections at 252-946-2321.