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Originally published: 2014-05-05 17:05:17
Last modified: 2014-05-06 10:13:16

Early voting ends; primary election takes place Tuesday

by Allison Haver

Early voting for the May 6 primary election ended Saturday and on Tuesday voters will also be going to the polls to help narrow the field of candidates for the November general election.


Early voting officially ended in Watauga County at 1 p.m. on Saturday.


Polling places will be open for the primary election from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the county's 20 voting precincts.


For a list of precincts, visit the Watauga County Board of Elections at the county website, and go to the board's website.


Voters will be casting partisan ballots for U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, District 5, district attorney for district 24 and the Watauga County Board of Commissioners.


Nonpartisan ballots will also be cast for a N.C. Supreme Court associate justice and Watauga County Board of Education candidates.


Watauga voters will be selecting three board of education candidates from a field of eight for the November election: Adam L. Trivette, Kurt D. Michael, Josh Kanoy, Ron Henries, Ronald (Ronny) Holste, Jay Fenwick, Tiffrany Christian and Jason K. Cornett.


Also in Watauga County, the Republican ballot seeks to select a candidate for the November election from district 3, Karen Greene Lerch or Matt Klutz, and one candidate from district 4, Allen Trivette or Jimmy Hodges.


The district attorney slate for district 24 will select one candidate, Britt Bingham Springer, Nathan A. Miller or Seth Banks.


The Watauga County Board of Election's canvass of votes from the primary election will take place at 11 a.m. May 13.


Voter registration has already closed and there is no longer same-day registration in North Carolina.


Voters who are registered with a political party must vote in the primary of the party with which they are affiliated. Those who are not affiliated with a political party may vote in a party primary as long as that party allows it.


According to the State Board of Elections, currently the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties allow unaffiliated voters to vote in their primaries. Voters who are not affiliated with a political party are also free to vote a nonpartisan ballot in the primary and not participate in a party primary.


Voters are not required to bring voting photo identification with them to voting sites. A photo ID will not be required until 2016.


One-stop voting started at 8 a.m. on April 24 and by the end of that day 316 people had voted.


The Watauga County Board of Elections reported that 266 people voted on April 25; 241 people voted on Monday; 237 voted on Tuesday; 254 on Wednesday; 294 on Thursday; 415 on Friday and 267 on Saturday. Early voting totals for Watauga County came to 2,290 voters.


"We have had a large turnout at the administration building and I have been impressed by those numbers," Watauga County Elections Director Jane Hodges said."People have seemed to take a big interest in the local elections."


"I'm a little disappointed with the numbers out in the county, but I think it's all about people knowing when and where the voting sites were open," she said.


The State Board of Elections announced on Friday that early voting turnout had already surpassed early votes cast in the most recent nonpresidential primary year: 2010.

According to the state board, counties reported early voting totals at 199,904 as of 2 p.m. Friday, compared to 172,972 votes cast over the 17 day early voting period in 2010, representing an overall increase in turnout of 0.8 percent over 2010, adjusting for increased registration.


"We are encouraged by the strong showing, despite severe weather across our state," said Executive Director Kim Westbrook Strach said in a news release.


The 2014 primary is the first election cycle under a compacted 10-day early voting period, which ends at 1 p.m. Saturday.


For more information, contact the Watauga County Board of Elections office at (828) 265-8061.