Officials expecting increased turnout at polls

Published 6:17 pm Thursday, November 3, 2016

During the first day of early voting — for this year’s general election — at three satellite polling places in Beaufort County, 911 voters marked ballots, according to the Beaufort County Board of Elections.

On Wednesday, 353 voters in Belhaven cast ballots, followed by 341 voters in Chocowinity and 217 voters in Aurora. On the first day of early voting in the 2012 general election, 368 Belhaven voters marked ballots, followed by 195 voters in Belhaven. There was no early voting in Chocowinity in the 2012 general election.

Early voting has been steady, with no long wait times at the polls, according to elections officials.

“I believe the numbers are a little bit better than what we’ve seen before,” said Kellie Harris Hopkins, the county’s elections director, on Thursday. “We didn’t have the Chocowinity site in 2012. … They’re doing better than 2012 because Aurora was over 200 (Wednesday), well Aurora is. Belhaven is pretty much on course (with 2012). … So, they’re within 20 votes of how they did in 2012.”

As for voter turnout today and Saturday, “Big numbers. They’ll be the biggest two days,” Hopkins said, adding that turnout today will likely be more than Saturday because the polls close at 1 p.m. Saturday after just a half-day of voting. “Saturday usually has move voters per hour than any other day.”

Early voting in Aurora, Belhaven and Chocowinity continues today from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The Aurora satellite site is at the Aurora Commu­nity Building, 442 Third St. Belhaven’s satellite site is at the John A. Wilkinson Center, 144 W. Main St. The Chocowinity satellite location is at Chocowin­ity Volunteer Fire Depart­ment, 512 E. N.C. Highway 33 East.

Early voting at the Board of Elections office (1308 Highland Drive, Washington) continues today from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

By Wednesday night, 10,653 voters participated in early voting at the board’s office and three satellite polling places, according to board data. That figure does not include absentee ballots from military, civilian and overseas voters.

In the first 12 days of the 2016 early voting period, an average of 888 voters have been casting ballots each day. During the 2012 general election, 11,113 voters marked ballots during the first 12 days of that early voting period, for an average of 926 voters a day.

During the 13-day early voting in 2012, there were 1,501 voters who marked ballots at Aurora or Belhaven, or 12.3 percent of the overall 12,134 ballots cast at the board’s office and two satellite sites.



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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