08/24/08 — County gets set for voter turnout

View Archive

County gets set for voter turnout

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 24, 2008 12:19 PM

The number of one-stop voting sites and their hours of operation are being expanded by the Wayne County Board of Elections to help cope with a November General Election that is expected to be one of "historic proportions."

"We are looking for it (election) to break all historical numbers in Wayne County," said Vickie Reed, Wayne County Board of Elections director. "For the primary, we had a 37.5 percent voter turnout and we are planning on at least 60 percent (in November). I think there is a great interest in this election. I think North Carolina is going to be right up there in it."

That interest, she said, is reflected in the number of new voters who are registering. Between the May primary and Tuesday, Nov. 4 General Election. Close to 4,000 new voters are expected, she said. As of Friday, there were just over 63,000 registered voters in the county.

"We are looking for a tremendous increase in voter turnout," Ms. Reed said. "We're expecting at least 50 percent of our voter turnout to turn out for one-stop voting, and that is why we are having five locations -- three main locations and two satellite locations that will be open the last week of one-stop voting.

"We are really trying to get prepared for this and give everybody the opportunity to vote."

Ms. Reed said the county has operated three one-stops sites before, but she didn't think the county had ever opened two satellite locations as well.

Ms. Reed updated county commissioners during their Tuesday meeting about her office's plans to help manage the expected record turnout including the five one-stop voting sites.

The three one-stop sites will be Wayne County Public Library, 1001 E. Ash St.; Woodmen of the World Building, 3733 U.S. 117 North; and the Dudley Fire Station, 4533 U.S. 117 Alternate at Dudley.

The sites will be open Oct. 16 through Nov. 1 and the hours of operation will be Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 1-5 p.m.

The sites will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 1, the final day for one-stop voting.

The satellite sites will be located at Johnston Ambulance Service, 2803 U.S. 70 West; and Fremont Town Hall, 120 E. Main St., Fremont. Their hours of operation will be 1-5 p.m. Oct. 25-31 and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 1.

Ms. Reed said people may register and vote on the same day at one-stop voting sites.

"We had 250 of those for the primary, and we are looking for a good many of those also," she said. "We have a lot of people out there picking up voter registration forms and looking to get their groups involved (in voter registration)."

To register on the same day as you vote, residents must provide a photo identification and some sort of document, such as a utility bill, that has their name on it and shows they reside at where they say they do.

Absentee voting, Sept. 15-Oct. 28, is "another way we can get people out there to vote," she said.

An absentee application may be requested by mail. People may write for themselves or have an immediate family member do so. The information should include name, address, date of birth and the address to which the application should be mailed.

The application should be returned to the Wayne County Board of Elections, Attn: Absentee Request, 209 S. William St., Goldsboro, N.C. 27530.

People also are reminded of the following deadlines: Friday, Oct. 10, by 5 p.m. is the deadline for new voter registrations or changes to existing ones; and Tuesday, Oct. 28, by 5 p.m. is the deadline to request an absentee by mail ballot.

In response to questioning by commissioners, Ms. Reed said 15 poll workers would be needed per location -- 100 for the one-stop sites alone.

"We are working to find as many poll workers as we can," she said. "We have about 133, some have not yet committed or are in training. We will need 250-300 for Election Day. The only requirement is that they be registered voters. The county will provide the training."

Ms. Reed said her office will be advertising one-stop voting. Possible plans include billboards on US 70 East and West and on U.S. 117 North and South. Also, there will be newspaper and radio ads, she said.

Registered voters interested in volunteering as a one-stop or potential Election Day poll workers should call the elections board at 731-1411 or visit the Web site at www.waynegov.com/boe.

"We are hoping that all these locations and various times will allow everyone to get out and vote," Ms. Reed said.