Absentee ballots roll in
by Kellen Short
With three weeks until Election Day, the Watauga County Board of Elections met Tuesday to test the voting machines and begin counting absentee ballots returned by mail.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the office had sent out 24 absentee ballots and had received back seven, said Donna Houck, deputy elections director.
Before the votes were counted, elections staff tested every machine and found that all tested correctly, Election Director Jane Ann Hodges said. Board members Luke Eggers, Bill Aceto and Kathleen Campbell supervised additional machine tests.
The board also approved voter registrations and statistics. The office has received 387 new voter registrations since the last approval. They also voted 2-1, with Campbell dissenting, to approve the minutes from the Oct. 2 meeting.
The board will meet next at 5 p.m. Tuesday to count any more absentee ballots received by mail.
Meanwhile, one-stop early voting begins Thursday for all four municipal races at the Watauga County Commissioners' Board Room at 814 W. King St. in Boone, adjacent to the courthouse.
Early voting is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on: Oct. 17-18, Oct. 21-25 and Oct. 28-Nov. 1.
Voters also may cast ballots early from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 2.