Absentee voting for Nov. 8 election gets under way Friday

Published 10:42 pm Sunday, September 4, 2016

Though the Nov. 8 general election is two months away, absentee voting for mail begins Friday.

Kellie Harris Hopkins, Beaufort County’s elections director, expects the number of absentee voters (military, civilian and overseas categories) in the upcoming general election to be about the same as in previous primaries and general elections in recent years. “I don’t think that (absentee ballots) will change much, but I believe early voting could be up this fall because of the presidential election,” she said.

During the March 15 primary cycle, 186 Beaufort County voters took advantage of absentee voting, according to the Beaufort County Board of Elections website, with 109 of those absentee ballots marked by Republicans, 73 absentee ballots marked by Democrats, two ballots cast by Libertarians and two ballots returned by unaffiliated voters, according to the website. During that primary cycle, 123 civilians marked absentee ballots, followed by seven ballots cast by voters who were overseas and four ballots marked by military personnel.

Oct. 14 at 5 p.m. is the deadline to register to vote in the general election, but there is a loophole regarding that deadline. Same-day registration is allowed

Early voting (one-stop) begins Oct. 20 and concludes Nov. 5. In Beaufort County during the first week of the early voting period, the Board of Elections office will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 20 through Oct. 22 and Oct. 24 through Oct. 26. The schedule for the last 10 days of the early voting period follows: extended office hours at the Board of Elections office, 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 27 through Oct. 29 and Oct. 31 through Nov. 5, and from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 5. Three satellite offices (Aurora, Belhaven, and Chocowinity) would be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 2 through Nov. 4 and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 5, 198.5 hours. There is no early voting on Sundays in the county.

In a related matter, last week the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to reinstate North Carolina’s voter ID law. The 4-4 split by the high court keeps intact a July 29 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (based in Richmond, Virginia) that struck down photo ID requirements and other election procedures that became law in 2013, including shortening of the early voting period from 17 days to 10 days and eliminating same-day registration. The panel said the law was passed with “racially discriminatory intent.”

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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