BOE sees increase in voter participation

Published 9:00 am Saturday, October 28, 2023

Early voting participation for this year’s municipal election “surprised,” Director of Beaufort County Board of Elections, Kellie Hopkins said. As of Thursday, Oct. 26, one stop totals across Beaufort County reached 538 which is a little elevated compared to previous elections. 

In 2019 there were a total 699 votes cast, but in 2021 it reached 655, according to the Beaufort County Board of Elections. 

Hopkins said a likely scenario is that eager voters go to the polls early causing what seems an increase in voter participation. Because many people voted early, there could be little participation on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov.7.  

Most of the early voting participation is coming from Washington. Of the total 538 votes cast in the county, 507 came from Washington as of Thursday. 

As of Thursday, Washington Park saw 12 votes cast, Belhaven saw eight, Chocowinity saw 10 Aurora saw one, but Bath and Pantego saw zero. 

The large discrepancy between Washington’s election and other municipalities is that the city has a highly contested race which can “spark more energy,” Hopkins said. Less contested races, especially where there are more incumbents running, have fewer voters. 

Early voting ends on Saturday, Nov. 4. Until then, Beaufort County residents can vote at the Board of Elections’ office from Monday, Oct. 30 through Friday, Nov. 3 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 4 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The office is located at 1308 Highland Drive #104 in Washington.