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Voter turnout tops 4 million

Given the fact that just over four million registered voters across North Carolina have already cast ballots, the 2020 General Election is on pace to shatter turnouts of previous elections.

As of early Friday morning (Oct. 30), the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCBOE) reported 4,083,968 ballots have been cast. That number represents over one-half (55.6 percent) of the state’s 7,345,481 registered voters.

NCBOE’s numbers show that 3,200,004 of the ballots cast as of Friday morning were done by the early voting (One-Stop) process. The remainder are absentee by mail ballots, of which 862,825 are from civilian voters.

At the same point in the last presidential election (2016), 2,598,993 ballots had been cast.

Locally, the 2020 General Election has sparked much interest. As of Friday morning, voter turnout was high in all four Roanoke-Chowan area counties as follows:

Bertie – 7,028 ballots cast (53.0 % turnout); 6,360 votes via One-Stop; 668 votes cast by absentee by mail.

Gates – 3,534 ballots cast (42.6 % turnout); 3,047 votes via One-Stop; 487 votes cast by absentee by mail.

Hertford – 7,696 ballots cast (51.4 % turnout); 6,782 votes via One-Stop; 914 votes cast by absentee by mail.

Northampton – 6,870 ballots cast (49.3 % turnout); 5,997 votes via One-Stop; 873 votes cast by absentee by mail.

While the main focus is the race for who will sit in the White House over the next four years, there are other key races on the ballot, to include several at the local level that Roanoke-Chowan area voters will help decide.

In Hertford County there is a seven-person race for two seats on the Board of Education. Incumbents David Shields and J. Wendell Hall are seeking reelection, but face challenges from Ashley Askew, Devere Beard, Eddie Hall, Kim Saunders, and Cheryl Tyler.

There are races for two seats on the Bertie County Board of Education: District 1 – incumbent Bob Occena vs. Reba Cooper Carlton; and District 5 – incumbent Tarsha Bush Dudley vs. Casey Owens.

At the regional level, R-C area voters will help decide several key races as follows:

District 1 NC Senate (Hertford and Gates counties) – incumbent Bob Steinberg (R) vs. Tess Judge (D);

District 1 NC House of Representatives (Bertie County) – incumbent Edward C. Goodwin (R) vs. Emily Bunch Nicholson (D);

District 3 NC Senate (Bertie and Northampton counties) – Ernestine Byrd Bazemore (D) vs. Thomas S. Hester Jr. (R);

District 5 NC House of Representatives (Hertford and Gates counties) – incumbent Howard Hunter III (D) vs. Donald Kirkland (R); and

District 27 NC House of Representatives (Northampton County) – incumbent Michael H. Wray (D) vs. Warren Scott Nail (R).

There are candidates seeking election in all four local counties who are uncontested, to include county commissioners, Register of Deeds, District and Superior Court judges, and Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor.

R-C area voters will have numerous state/federal candidates to choose from on their ballot. Those choices include federal races for President/Vice President of the United States, United States Senate, and United States House of Representatives (District 1).

At the state level, local voters have choices for Governor, Lt. Governor, North Carolina Attorney General, North Carolina Auditor, North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture, North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance, North Carolina Commissioner of Labor, North Carolina Secretary of State, North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction, North Carolina Treasurer, North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice, North Carolina Supreme Court Associate Justices (Seat 2 and Seat 4), and North Carolina Court of Appeals (Seats 4, 5, 6, 7, and 13).

Saturday, Oct. 31 ends the Early Voting (One-Stop) process. For those who did not cast a ballot in that manner or choose the absentee by mail route, the only other option they have is to vote on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3. Traditional polling places throughout the local area will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. The lone change to traditional polling sites is in Gates County Precinct 01. Voters there will cast ballots at Gatesville Elementary School rather than the Gates County DSS office.

NOTE: On Tuesday, any voter in line at their assigned polling place at 7:30 p.m. will be able to vote. The busiest times tend to be early in the morning and just before the polls close. Avoid longer lines by voting at off-peak times.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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