Early voting ends Saturday

Published 2:20 pm Saturday, November 5, 2016

The early voting period ends at 1 p.m. Saturday. Voters who miss that deadline must wait until Election Day to vote.

The polls open at 7:30 p.m. and close at 1 p.m. today at the Beaufort County Board of Elections office. At the satellite polling places in Aurora, Belhaven and Chocowinity, the doors open at 8 a.m. and close at 1 p.m. 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.

At least one Beaufort County voter takes early voting seriously. That voter, a woman, was on her way home from a nursing home when she voted from a medical-transport ambulance. “It pulled up at the curbside-voting location and backed in. She voted from there,” said Kellie Harris Hopkins, elections director for Beaufort County. “I wish we had gotten a picture of it.”

County elections officials say turnout for the early voting period for the general election is on par with turnout during the early voting period for the 2012 presidential election. With Saturday being the last day in the early voting period, voters could find themselves waiting in lines longer than usual, said Kellie Harris Hopkins, the county’s elections director.

Each day during the early voting period at the board’s office in Washington, the majority of voting booths were occupied, especially during the first two days and Thursday and Friday of this week.

So far during the early voting period, at least 11,000 voters (absentee ballots and one-stop voters at the four sites in the county) have marked ballots. That’s 33 percent of the county’s 33,152 registered voters.

In Beaufort County, about 41 percent of all voters this early voting period are Democrats, followed by Republicans at about 35 percent. Unaffiliated voters account for nearly 24 percent of the early vote, with Libertarians accounting for less than 1 percent of early ballots.

Statewide, nearly 2 million (or nearly 30 percent) of the state’s 6.86 million registered voters have voted early this election cycle, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

In 2012, the most recent presidential election year, more than 2.5 million North Carolina voters cast ballots at early voting locations statewide. That number represented 56 percent of the total votes cast in the election.

Statewide, according to early voting data from the North Carolina State Board of Elections, fewer Democrats are marking ballots early compared to 2012 figures, but they outnumber Republicans who are voting early by about 12 percent. In 2012, that difference was 18 percent in favor of Democrats.

The board will count absentee ballots it has received so far at 2 p.m. Election Day. Absentee ballots that come in after Tuesday and before the deadline for mail-in absentee ballots will be counted during the ballot canvass Nov. 18.








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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