Early voting numbers trail 2012 figures

Published 6:42 pm Friday, October 28, 2016

With seven days left for early voting, Beaufort County voters continue to mark ballots at a stable pace at the Beaufort County Board of Elections office in Washington.

During the first seven days of the early voting period in North Carolina, 1,115,973 voters marked ballots, on a similar pace with the 2012 general election, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections. With the opening of more early voting sites in the coming days, the number of voters marking ballots could surge.

Ric Carter is one of those who voted before all 22 county polling places open on Election Day. Carter, in written form, explains his reasons for voting early: “One: Less hurried/no line/not last minute pressure(.) Two: It takes a lot of the pain and pressure of campaign advertising(.) Three: It’s easier(.)”

Linda C. Clark responded: “Voted early…Appreciated the volunteers who volunteered. In past years I have actually been frowned at when party affiliation was noted…Not this year.”

Before early voting started Oct. 20, Kellie Harris Hopkins, Beaufort County’s elections director, predicted more than 1,000 voters would mark ballots on each of the first two days of the early voting period. She was right. She also predicted early voter turnout would increase during the last two or three days of the early voting period.

As of Thursday, 6,333 county voters marked ballots at the board’s office during the first seven days of early voting, an average of 904 voters a day. During the first seven days of the early voting period for the 2012 general election, 6,802 voters cast ballots, for an average of 971 voters a day.

For the 2012 general election, 12,134 voters marked ballots during the 13-day early voting period, according to data from the Board of Elections.

Add the 296 absentee-by-mail voters (military, civilians and county residents who are overseas) who sent in ballots by Thursday to the 6,333 voters who marked ballots at the board’s office, 6,629 county voters have marked ballots early.

If the average daily voter turnout (904) for the 2016 15-day early voting period continues, 13,560 voters will have cast ballots through Nov. 5, when the early voting period ends.

Through Thursday, 267 civilians voted by absentee ballots in Beaufort County, with 10 military personnel casting absentee ballots. Nineteen Beaufort County residents who are out of the country (overseas) have marked absentee ballots.

By Thursday evening, 2,761 Democrats voted by absentee ballots, with 2,281 Republicans marking such ballots. Unaffiliated voters marked 1,572 absentee ballots, with 15 Libertarians casting 14 ballots.


In the county, more women are voting during the early voting period or using absentee ballots than men. Through Thursday, 3,686 women had voted early of marked absentee ballots, followed by 2,797 men. There were 146 voters who genders were unknown, according to Board of Elections figures.

As of Thursday, the great majority of one-stop voters or voters who used absentee ballots is white at 4,940 voters, followed by 1,483 blacks, 27 other races, 15 multi-racial, three Asian, six Native Americans and 152 of undetermined race.

On the first day of the early voting period (Oct. 20), 1,177 voters marked ballots. On the subsequent days through Thursday, voter turnout during the early voting period was 1,020 voters, 428 voters, 1,071 voters, 955 voters, 882 voters and 800 voters, respectively.

For early voters, the Board of Elections office will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. today through Friday and from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 5. Three satellite offices (Aurora, Belhaven, and Chocowinity) will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 5. 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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