Voter IDs not an issue in early voting period

Published 10:58 pm Sunday, March 6, 2016

Beaufort County voters marking ballots during the early voting period for the March 15 primaries are showing up at the polling place with IDs.

“We’ve had absolutely no issue with voter ID, so far,” said Kellie Harris Hopkins, Beaufort County’s elections director, on Friday afternoon.

Although the North Carolina General Assembly approved a new voter ID law in 2013, that new law did not become effective until this year. There is ongoing litigation regarding the voter ID laws. A ruling in one case brought by opponents to the new laws likely will come after the March 15 primaries.

“No, we haven’t,” Hopkins said about the Beaufort County Board of Elections detecting any significant trends with voter registration in recent weeks.

Though some ballots for Republican voters (depending on where they live) include Arthur Williams as a candidate for the 6th District seat in the North Carolina House of Representatives, he is not a candidate, but some voters may not be aware of that.

Part of Beaufort County is in District 6. In January, Williams withdrew from the GOP primary because of personal reasons, but he withdrew after the ballots were printed.

“We’re not in a position to know whether they know it or not,” Hopkins said. “That’s not something we’d be privy to. I know Mr. Williams has made public statements saying that he would not accept the nomination.”

As for voter turnout in the early voting period so far, “It’s about what we would expect,” she said.

In the first day of the early voting period, more women than men and more Republicans than Democrats voted in Beaufort County.

On Thursday, the first day of the early voting period, 364 people voted, including 190 Republicans, 173 Democrats and one Libertarian, according to figures provided by the Beaufort County Board of Elections. Of those 364 voters, 186 were women, 172 were male and the gender of six voters was undetermined.

Among the 364 voters who marked ballots Thursday, 284 were white, 68 were black, seven were of undetermined races, two were multi-racial, two were identified as “other” and one was a Native American, according to board data.

As of Feb. 27, there were 14,041 voters registered as Democrats in the county, followed by 10,309 voters registered as Republicans, 7,979 people registered as unaffiliated and 87 residents registered as Libertarians, according to the board. The county, as of Feb. 27, had 32,2324 registered voters. Of that number, 22,992 are white, 8,261 are black, 261 are Hispanic, 36 are Native Americans and 945 are identified as “other,” according to board figures. The county has 17,281 female voters and 14,470 male voters.

In Beaufort County, early voting continues March 7 through March 12. At the board’s office at 1308 Highland Drive in Washington, early voting runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Three satellite offices (Aurora, Belhaven and Chocowinity) will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 10 and March 11 (Thursday and Friday) and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 12 (Saturday) of the early voting period.

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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