Early voting in primary election ends next Saturday

Published 8:40 am Saturday, February 24, 2024

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Beaufort County residents who want to vote early and in-person in the 2024 primary election have one week left to meet the important deadline – 3 p.m. on Saturday, Mar. 2. The primary election day, which includes the presidential preference primary, is Tuesday, March. 5. 

There are three early voting sites in Beaufort County: Aurora Community Center (442 3rd St, Aurora), Beaufort County Board of Elections Office (1308 Highland Dr. # 104, Washington) and the John A. Wilkinson Center (144 W. Main St., Belhaven). 

The Aurora Community Center and John A. Wilkinson Center will be open Thursday, Feb. 29 – Friday, March 1 from 8 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 2 from from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. The Beaufort County Board of Elections Office will be open Monday, Feb. 26 – Friday, March 1 from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 2 from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. 

On Tuesday, March 5, voters will need to cast their ballots at their assigned polling place. Residents can search for their Election Day polling place by visiting the North Carolina State Board of Elections website:  https://vt.ncsbe.gov/PPLkup/ 

In a primary election, voters affiliated with any political party will vote for candidates from that party only. For example, a registered Republican may vote in the Republican primary ballot only. Unaffiliated voters can choose to vote one political party’s ballot or a nonpartisan ballot (if available), but they cannot vote in more than one party’s primary, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections. If a party has one candidate running in a race, that candidate will be declared the party’s nominee and be placed on the ballot for the General Election in November. 

Elections where Republicans, Libertarians and Democrats will vote: U.S. President NC Governor

Elections where Republicans and Democrats will vote: NC Lt. Governor Attorney, General NC Superintendent of Public Instruction and State Treasurer NC Commissioner of Insurance 

Elections where Republicans only will vote: State Auditor, NC Commissioner of Agriculture, NC Commissioner of Labor, NC Secretary of State, NC Court of Appeals

Judge Seat 15, NC State Senate District 3,  Beaufort County Board of Commissioners and Beaufort County Register of Deeds

Elections where Democrats only will vote: NC Supreme Court Associate Justice Seat 

Locals will also choose from candidates for Board of Education seats 5, 7 and 9. 

For a list of candidates, visit Beaufort County Board of Elections’ website at:   https://beaufortncboe.org/candidate-lists 

Should residents visit the candidate list, they will notice that there are two Democratic candidates for Beaufort County Board of Commissioners and neither are participating in the primary election. This is because the number of candidates from each party cannot exceed the number of seats available which is four. Because the Democratic Party does not have four or more candidates, they will automatically go on the November ballot; however, because the Republican Party had more than four, the selection must be narrowed down to match the number of available seats. In November, the two Democratic candidates will compete against the four Republican candidates, Beaufort County Board of Elections confirmed. 

Candidates who earn the most votes in each contest will become their party’s nominee for the General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 5. To win, a candidate must win by at least 30% of the vote plus one. “For multi-seat primary contests (for example, at-large county commissioners), primary candidates win if they earn 30% of the total number of votes cast in the contest, divided by the number of nominations to be filled,” according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections. 

From Feb. 15 to Feb. 22, the Beaufort County Board of Elections Office saw a total 1,051 voters, or an average of 175 voters per day, according to the office. 

In that same time frame, there were 280 registered Democratic voters, one Libertarian voter, but 770 Republican voters. Of the unaffiliated voters, 310 voted Republican, 36 voted Democrat, but one voted Libertarian.  

In the school board elections, District 7 saw the highest number of voters with 123, but District 9 was close behind with 113. District 5 saw 94 voters.