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Schedule set for 3rd Congressional primary, absentee ballots available

A week after filing ended in the special 3rd Congressional District election, absentee ballots are now available at the Beaufort County Board of Elections, with the schedule for the first primary election now solidified.

“We’re ready for voters,” Board of Elections Director Kelly Hopkins said. “We’re receiving the ballots today (Friday), so any requests we receive, the voters should receive ballots within a few days.”

With 26 candidates running in the race, Republican, Democratic and Libertarian candidates will all face their first primary election in April. All told there are 17 Republicans, six Democrats, two Libertarians and one Constitution candidate who have thrown their hats in the ring.

Based on party affiliation, voters will have to narrow down their choices to one at the ballot box, and unaffiliated voters can choose to participate in any of the primaries.

ABSENTEE VOTING

Absentee ballots, which allow registered voters to cast their votes by mail, are now available through the Beaufort County Board of Elections. In order to request an absentee ballot, voters or near relatives must fill out an absentee ballot request form.

These forms are available at the Beaufort County Board of Elections or online at www.beaufortncboe.org. The form can be delivered by mail to P.O. Box 1016, Washington, NC 27889, by email to elections@co.beaufort.nc.us, by fax to 1-252-974-2962 or in person to 1308 Highland Drive, Suite 104, Washington.

The request form must be delivered by 5 p.m. April 23.

ONE-STOP VOTING

The dates for one-stop voting in the election are set for April 10 to April 26. Voters can register and vote on the same day at the Beaufort County Board of Elections from 8 to 5 p.m., with the exception of Good Friday, April 19.

ELECTION DAY

To vote on Election Day, which falls on April 30 for this primary, the deadline for voter registration is April 5. For those who do not register by that date, one-stop voting allows citizens to register and vote on the same day.

VOTER ID REQUIREMENTS

While the North Carolina General Assembly overrode a veto from Governor Roy Cooper in December to enshrine voter ID into the N.C. Constitution, the law currently faces a Constitutional challenge in court.

Legislation advanced by the N.C. General Assembly this week will forestall the Voter ID legislation from being implemented until 2020, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Originally, the AP reports that the November municipal elections would have been the effective start date for voter ID. With the passing of Walter Jones Jr., and the subsequent special election to fill his seat in Congress, many rules concerning voter ID have not yet been finalized.

“With the new election coming up, the bill went through to push that to 2020 to make sure that boards of elections are ready to implement that law,” Hopkins said.