10/31/07 — Voters have until Saturday to fill out first ballots

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Voters have until Saturday to fill out first ballots

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on October 31, 2007 1:58 PM

Municipal voters looking to avoid the potential crowds on Election Day still have until Saturday to cast their ballots at the county's one-stop polling place at the Wayne County Board of Elections Office on William Street.

Currently booths are open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. On Saturday, they will be open from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.

So far, about 100 people have cast early ballots this year -- mostly for the Goldsboro races, but also for Walnut Creek, Fremont and Mount Olive.

Absentee ballots by mail are due by 5 p.m. Monday.

Voting on Election Day will run from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, as residents of every municipality in Wayne County will have the opportunity to select their local leaders for the next few years.

Across the county, 28 precincts will be open.

In Goldsboro, though, Precinct 5 will be folded into Precinct 10, and in Mount Olive, Precinct 28 will be combined with Precinct 30 because of the low number of eligible voters in those areas. Interim elections director Erin Burridge noted that all affected voters have been notified.

On election night, as the results come in, they will be posted at the elections office and online via the county's Web site, www.waynegov.com.

Ms. Burridge is hopeful that if everything goes well, all the precincts will have their reports in by about 9 p.m.

And so far, she said one-stop and the other preparations have been going smoothly.

"It's going very well," she said.

Even the new rules this year allowing residents the opportunity to register and cast their ballots on the same day at one-stop sites haven't caused any problems.

So far, she said, only two people have even attempted it -- one successfully, the other not.

"We had one individual who did the same-day registration without any hang-ups -- no problem," Ms. Burridge said. "We had another, though, come in to do same-day, but he had no current North Carolina ID. He had an out-of-state, out-of-date ID card, and we can't accept that. He understood, though, that we have to apply the same rules as we do regular registration."

Voters, however, will not be allowed to register and vote same-day on Election Day.

And for those residents for whom Spanish is their primary language, translated voting instructions are available. The ballots and the names are still in English, but the instructions are available in Spanish. Precinct officials also have access, if necessary, to translators at the state Board of Elections office in Raleigh.

If voters wish to prepare for this year's municipal elections, they can view a list of candidates and sample ballots on the county's Web site, as well as maps showing which precincts and districts they are in.

Ms. Burridge also reminded voters that every race this year will include a line for write-in candidates -- and that in Eureka, every candidates will be selected via write-in.

"It's going to be interesting and it's going to be fun," she said. "We're ready to go."

The story's the same in Duplin County where elections director Suzanne Southerland said the office is also prepared for Tuesday, when all 10 municipalities will hold elections.

"We're as ready as we can be," she said.

There, one-stop voting, at the elections office in Kenansville, also will continue from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. this week, before ending on Saturday, with booths open from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Voting on Election Day will run from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.

In addition, Ms. Southerland noted that they, too, have not had any problems with same-day registration, and that Spanish-language voting instructions will be made available to whoever needs them.

For Duplin voters looking to educate themselves on each race, sample ballots are currently available on the county's Web site, www.duplincountync.com, where on Tuesday, the results also will be posted.