Voting record in view

Published 9:27 pm Wednesday, October 31, 2012

If Beaufort County voters didn’t set an early voting record by Wednesday night, it could happen today, said a county elections official.
The record won’t come as a surprise to her, said Kellie Harris Hopkins, the county’s elections director, on Wednesday afternoon as the Board of Elections office was filled with voters marking ballots.
“I expected it,” she said.
By late Wednesday morning, voter turnout in the county had reached 30.75 percent. In the county, overall voter turnout was about 73 percent in 2008, Hopkins said. The number of voters going to the poll Election Day could be smaller than usual for a general election, she noted.
“One-stop is becoming so popular with voters that it may be we have a very light turnout on Election Day because everybody’s voting early,” Hopkins said.
As of 10:37 a.m. Wednesday, 10,149 voters — 30.75 percent of the county’s 33,003 registered voters — had marked ballots early, either by absentee ballots or one-stop voting, according to data provided by Hopkins. In the 2008 general election, 11,244 voters took advantage of one-stop voting and 882 voters sent in absentee ballots by mail, according to data from that election, for a total of 12,126 voters who marked ballots early.
At the Board of Elections office, 8,534 voters had cast ballots by 10:37 a.m. Wednesday. During the two days of one-stop voting in Belhaven last month, 707 voters marked ballots. In Aurora, during the same two early voting days, 333 voters marked ballots early. That means 9,569 voters had taken advantage of one-stop voting. The number of voters using absentee ballots to vote was at 580 as of Wednesday morning.
This week, the state Board of Elections said early voting in the 2012 general election is on track to set a statewide record. As of Wednesday, 1,876,309 voters had cast early ballots, compared to 2,638,915 voters by the end of the early voting period in 2008. Gary Bartlett, director of the SBOE, said turnout for early voting this year is exceeding expectations.
Early voting takes place at the Beaufort County Board of Elections office, 1308 Highland Drive, Suite 104, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and Friday and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
Absentee ballots must be received by county boards of elections by 5 p.m. Nov. 5. If mailed, returned absentee ballots will be valid if postmarked on or before Election Day and received no later than 5 p.m. Nov. 9.
Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. Election Day.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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