Early voting period coming to a close

Published 6:16 pm Friday, October 26, 2018

There’s a week left in the early voting period for the Nov. 6 general election.

“It hasn’t matched 2016 or 2014, but it’s been steady for a mid-term,” said Anita Bullock Branch, deputy director of the Beaufort County Board of Elections. “It’s probably a little above average for a mid-term.”

Candidates or their representatives are maintaining a visible presence at the four early voting sites throughout the county, especially at the Board of Elections office at 1308 Highland Drive, Suite 104, Washington. The other early voting sites are at the Aurora Community Building, 442 Third St.; John A. Wilkinson Center, 144 W. Main St. in Belhaven; and the Chocowin­ity Volunteer Fire Depart­ment, 512 N.C. Highway33 East.

The county’s remaining early voting opportunities take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the following days: Oct. 29 through Nov. 2. On Nov. 3, a Saturday, early voting occurs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

As of 7 p.m. Thursday, 5,316 Beaufort County voters — 15.86 percent of the county’s 33,504 voters — had marked ballots, according to the latest figures from the Board of Elections. Of that number, 3,764 voters cast ballot at the Board of Elections office, with 878 voters marking ballots at Chocowinity, 467 voters casting ballots at Belhaven and 207 voters marking ballots at Aurora. So far, the first day of early voting, Oct. 17, had the largest turnout with 905 voters at the four early voting sites.

In the 2016 general election (a presidential election), 14,489 voters had cast ballots during the early voting period, breaking the previous record of 12,134 voters who marked ballots early in the 2012 general election.

Statewide, more than 300 early voting sites will have offered approximately 50,000 combined hours of voting by Nov. 3, the end of the early voting period, according to the N.C. State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement. Across the state, a little over 400,000 voters have marked ballots early, according to data from the state board. Early voting turnout in some counties adversely affected by Hurricane Florence is not as high as usual, according to the state board.

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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