Voter registration ends Wednesday

Published 5:28 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Voter registration in Beaufort County and 35 other counties ends at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Meanwhile, early voting begins Thursday.

Last week, Wake County Superior County Judge Donald Stephens ordered the voter registration deadline at 5 p.m. Friday be extended through the close of business Wednesday. His order applies to the 36 counties receiving assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

The extended deadline expires the day before early voting begins.

The Democratic Party of North Carolina went to court Friday to ask the court to extend the registration deadline after the North Carolina State Board of Elections’ decision not to extend the deadline.

Hyde, Washington, Tyrrell, Pitt, Craven and Pamlico counties are among the counties affected by a court’s decision. All of the affected counties are in the eastern part of the state.

“This ruling will ensure that those communities who have suffered from the devastating flooding brought on by Hurricane Matthew have the grace period that they need in order to exercise their right to vote and make their voices heard in this critical election,” the party said in a statement.

In the other 64 counties, voter registration ended Friday. Would-be voters may still register and vote at the same time during the 17-day early voting period, which begins Thursday and runs through Nov. 5.

Kellie Harris Hopkins, Beaufort County’s elections director, expects voter turnout during the early voting period to be strong. “I think we’ll have over a thousand voters Thursday. It will be one of the busiest days for one-stop voting. It is every election. That first day is a big days — and the last three days are big days,” she said.

If voters want to avoid waiting in line, they might want to vote other times during the early voting period. Still, the busiest days for early voting usually don’t result in extremely long waits, Hopkins said. “We’ve never had lines long than about 20 minutes, even on our worst days. I think that’s as much as we’ve ever had — 20 minutes,” she said.

Early voting (one-stop) begins Thursday 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. Thursday through Saturday and Monday 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.



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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