Early voting period ends; voters head to polling places Tuesday

Published 2:54 pm Sunday, November 5, 2017

Early voting in the 2017 municipal elections in Beaufort County ended Saturday, with 639 voters marking ballots, about 6.7 percent of all registered voters in the county’s seven municipalities.

Forty-eight voters marked ballots Saturday, the last day of the 13-day period to vote early.

“It’s been slower than we thought today,” said Anita Bullock Branch, the county’s deputy elections director, about an hour before early voting ended Saturday.

Those voters who did not vote early may mark ballots at the polls from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Eligible voters in Aurora, Bath, Belhaven, Chocowinity, Pantego, Washington and Washington Park will select mayors, council members, aldermen and commissioners.

Although less than 7 percent of voters eligible to vote in this election marked ballots during the 13-day early voting period, that did not surprise Beaufort County Board of Elections staff. Kellie Harris Hopkins, the county’s elections director, said municipal elections are known for not attracting as many voters as presidential, statewide and countywide elections. Just under 10,000 voters in Beaufort County were eligible to vote in this year’s municipal elections.

Results announced Tuesday night after the polls close are unofficial. The three-member Beaufort County Board of Elections is scheduled to canvass the votes and make decisions regarding provisional ballots at 11 a.m. Nov. 17. At the end of the canvass, if there are no problems, the board would vote to certify the election results.

In some races, recounts could be conducted. A county board of elections has the authority to conduct discretionary recounts, unless the N.C. Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement has ruled otherwise.

“In a ballot item within the jurisdiction of the county board of elections, a candidate shall have the right to demand a recount of the votes if the difference between the votes for that candidate and the votes for a prevailing candidate is not more than one percent (1%) of the total votes cast in the ballot item, or in the case of a multiseat ballot item not more than one percent (1%) of the votes cast for those two candidates,” reads the section of the North Carolina General Statutes covering elections. “The demand for a recount must be made in writing and must be received by the county board of elections by 5:00 P.M. on the first business day after the canvass. The recount shall be conducted under the supervision of the county board of elections.”

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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