Election underway, what you need to know
Published 12:31 pm Friday, October 21, 2022
Beaufort County voters have begun marking their ballots for the Nov. 8 General Election.
One-stop early voting opened Thursday, kicking off an election that will determine Beaufort County’s next sheriff, seats on the Board of Education and Board of Commissioners as well as state and federal offices.
Beaufort County Board of Elections director Kellie Harris Hopkins said first-day turnout was comparable to the first day of one-stop voting during the 2018 General Election.
“The first day normally has good turnout and the last few days of one stop usually have our highest daily turnout,” Hopkins said.
In-person early voting is the most popular method of voting in even-numbered election years in North Carolina, according to the State Board of Elections. In the 2020 general election, 65 percent of voters cast ballots during the early voting period.
“The 100 county boards of elections have spent months preparing for the start of in-person voting for the important 2022 general election,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “The bipartisan election officials who work in each early voting site are prepared for a smooth voting process and to ensure the ballots of all eligible voters are counted.”
Voters can participate in one-stop voting at the Board of Elections office, located at 1308 Highland Drive in Washington. An additional one-stop site is open at the Chocowinity Fire Department.
“We do not operate that site during primaries so we are hoping the turnout numbers improve as we continue through the early voting period,” Hopkins said. “The Board also took into consideration the bridge closure when deciding to open the Chocowinity site full time. We will also open satellite one-stop sites in Aurora and Belhaven starting Nov. 2.”
The BOE office and the Chocowinity site are open Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Aurora and Belhaven sites will operate from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Nov. 2-4. The only Saturday open for one stop is the last day, Nov. 5, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. All sites will be open.
“It is important that voters know that by North Carolina General Statute, that we close at 3 p.m. the last day,” Hopkins said.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
Voters can check their registration, voting location and sample ballots using the voter look-up tool at https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/. Sample ballots are also available by request at the Board of Elections.
“If someone has missed the voter registration deadline, they can register and vote same day at any of our one stop sites with identification,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins said checks are in place to ensure a safe and accurate election.
“Ballots, voter registration lists, and tabulators are kept under strict chain-of-custody procedures,” Hopkins said. “During one stop, we audit turn out numbers daily. We have to have a name for every ballot cast. We also do an extensive audit after the election and prior to certification. We again check that we have a name for every ballot during one stop and election day. We also make sure that all ballots, used and unused are accounted for.”
Additional rules are in place to safeguard the voting process.
“Campaigning is prohibited within a 50-foot buffer zone from the entrance of the voting site. If voters do not want to talk to campaign volunteers or candidates, just simply tell them no thank you when approached. Most will gladly except that reply. If any voter feels uncomfortable with how they were approached, they should report the incident to the Board of Elections office or Chief Judge on Election Day.”
The State Board of Elections issued a release this week warning voters of “misleading mailers” sponsored by Voter Education Network Independent Expenditure PAC. It instructs voters to contact the State BOE if they believe the voting record on the card is incorrect.
The BOE said its investigation determined voter information on the cards is sometimes incorrect and might contradict official voter records.
“These mailers are confusing to voters and have resulted in numerous calls to the State Board at a critical time in the election cycle,” said Patrick Gannon, public information director at the State Board. “We recognize the importance of efforts to encourage people to vote. However, providing inaccurate information decreases confidence in our elections, and encouraging voters to contact the State Board about their voting record from prior elections is unnecessary and stresses our limited resources.”
The BOE instead encourages voters to use the State Board’s Voter Search tool found on the State Board of Elections website.