Not an issue locally

Published 7:06 pm Thursday, March 24, 2016

In Beaufort County during the recent primaries, there were more problems with people not registered to vote, people registered to vote in other counties or people voting out of precinct than voters who did not have valid IDs with them when they marked ballots.

Out of the 12,716 Beaufort County voters who cast ballots in the various primaries, a mere handful of them did not have valid IDs to present to poll workers. That information came to light Tuesday when the Beaufort County Board of Elections canvassed ballots. Of the 109 provisional ballots cast in Beaufort County, eight of them were rejected because voters failed to provide a valid ID at the polling place and did not meet the noon deadline Monday to produce a valid ID at the Board of Elections. Two voters, who did not have a valid ID with them at their polling places and filled out provisional ballots, had their ballots counted because they later provided valid IDs, Kellie Harris Hopkins, the county’s elections director, said during the canvassing process.

Had the eight voters returned to the polling place later during the primaries with valid proof of their identities or stopped by the Board of Elections by noon Monday with valid IDs, their votes would have been counted. Why those voters did not take advantage of either option is unknown to elections officials.

Of the 109 provisional ballots, 54 were rejected for various reasons — a voter was not registered, voters were registered in another county or the person was a felon whose right to vote has not been restored.

It seems as if fears that the state’s voter ID requirement would hinder voter turnout may have been unfounded, at least in the primaries. The story could be different in the upcoming June 7 primaries for the U.S. House of Representatives or the Nov. 8 general election.

For now, it looks like Beaufort County voters got the word regarding showing up a polling places with valid IDs.