1000 x 90

2022 Early Voting in Avery County Begins October 20th; Voting Regulations, Preview, and Sample Ballot Listed

By Tim Gardner

The time period for early voting in Avery County for the 2022 General Election begins on Thursday, October 20 and runs through Saturday, November 5.  

Saturdays and Sundays are excluded, except for Saturday, November 5 when early voting will also be open.  

All Early Voting in the county must be done at the Avery County Senior Citizens Center, located at 165 Schultz Street in downtown Newland.

The precise dates and times for conducting Early Voting for the General Election will be:

Thursday, October 20   8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Friday, October 21    8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Monday, October 24    8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, October 25   8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, October 26   8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 27   8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Friday, October 28   8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Monday, October 31   8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, November 1   8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, November 2   8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, November 3   8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Friday, November 4    8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 5    8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Early voting takes place in person before General Election Day. You don’t need an excuse to vote early — you can vote early even if you are capable of voting at the polls on Election Day.  

But every voting site in North Carolina also offers curbside voting for voters who are unable to enter the voting place without physical assistance due to age or disability. Through curbside voting, a voter can cast a ballot while in a vehicle outside the polling location. Some sites also provide a walk-up area for curbside voting in addition to the drive-up area. Signs should be in place to direct voters to the curbside voting location. 

Curbside voters must sign an affidavit affirming that they are unable to enter the voting place to cast their ballot.

The deadline to register to vote in North Carolina in the 2022 General Election was by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 14.

However, those who missed the regular voter registration deadline may still register and vote in Avery County during the early voting period. At the early voting site (Senior Citizens Center), a county resident eligible to vote must fill out a voter registration application and prove residency by providing appropriate identification with current name and current address.  Registered voters may update their address, but not their party affiliation. 

Voters who wished to change their party affiliation were also required to do so no later than October 14.

The following qualifications to register to vote must be fulfilled: Be a United States citizen; Have been a resident of North Carolina, the county, and precinct for 30 days before the election; Be at least 18 years old; And not be serving a sentence for a felony conviction (including probation or parole).  Citizenship and voting rights are automatically restored upon completion of a felony sentence. 

Voting a mail-in absentee ballot from home is another early voting option.

Voters may contact the Avery Elections Board office by calling (828) 733-8282 to request an absentee ballot be mailed to them. The deadline to submit an absentee ballot request for the General Election is 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 1. 

Completed absentee ballots may be submitted through one of these methods:

    *By mail to the county board of elections, postmarked on or before Election Day, and received by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8. The address is:  Avery County Board of Elections, PO Box 152, 200 Montezuma Street, Newland, NC 28657.

    *By commercial courier service: DHL, Federal Express (FedEx) or United Parcel Service (UPS) to the same address

    *Dropped off in person at the county board of elections office by 5:00 p.m. on General Election Day (November 8)

    *Dropped off in person at the early voting site in the county during the Early Voting period (October 20–November 5).

Voted absentee ballots will not be accepted at polling places on General Election Day.

Avery County offices on the General Election ballot are for County Commission, Clerk of Superior Court, Sheriff and Soil and Water District Supervisor.  

Three seats are open on the Avery County Commission.  Incumbents Dennis Aldridge and Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr. and newcomer candidate Robert Burleson (all Republicans) won May’s Primary Election and are running unopposed in the General Election.

Republican Teresa Benfield is unopposed for Clerk of Superior Court. Benfield did not have to run in the May 17, 2022 Primary Election as she had no Republican opposition then.  

Republican Mike Henley is also running unopposed in the General Election.  He won the Primary Election and then was appointed Interim Sheriff by the Avery County Board of Commissioners after a recommendation from the Avery Republican Party Executive Committee when Danny Phillips stepped down from the post in June.  Phillips had served as Interim Sheriff following former Sheriff’s Kevin Frye’s retirement on January 31, 2022.

Charles Ballard and Bill Beuttell are candidates for the two open seats for the non-partisan Avery Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor. Ballard and Beuttell are running unopposed as well. 

Ballard and Beuttell will win their races if they each receive only one vote as they have no opposition.

Aldridge, Young, Jr., Burleson, Benfield and Henley are also all guaranteed of winning their races if they only receive one vote since they have no Democrat, other political party or parties or filed write-in opposition.

In order to run in the General Election as a write-in candidate, that person or persons would have had to obtain a petition of a minimum of 500 signatures of Avery County’s registered voters endorsing such a candidacy. And that petition would have had to be submitted to the Avery County Board of Elections officials at least 90 days (August 9 deadline) before the General Election.

No write-in candidates filed, according to Avery Election Board officials.

The two county commission candidates with the most votes will serve four-year terms, while the candidate with the third most votes will serve a two-year term. 

Benfield, Henley, Ballard and Beuttell will all serve four-year terms.

Additionally, various other national, state and local district races are on the 2022 General Election ballot, including: United States Senate; United States House of Representatives (Congress) District 5; North Carolina House District 85; North Carolina Senate District 47; District Attorney District 35; and numerous races for state judicial seats.

In the North Carolina House District 85 Race, Newland native, former McDowell County Sheriff and incumbent Republican Dudley Greene is squaring off against Democrat Robert Cordle to earn the right to represent Avery, Mitchell and McDowell counties in the State House.

Both Greene and Cordle live in Marion.

The winner of the District 85 race will serve a two-year term.

In another race involving an Avery County native or resident, Republican Virginia Foxx of Banner Elk is seeking re-election to the United States House of Representatives (Congress) District 5.  Her opponent is Democrat Kyle Parrish of Cary.

On February 23, 2022, the North Carolina Supreme Court approved a new map which changed the 5th district boundaries to include Avery, Mitchell, Alleghany, Ashe, Davie, Stokes, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin Counties, most of Caldwell County and part of Forsyth County.

The District 5 winner will serve a two-year term.

Also, Spruce Pine (located in Southern neighboring Mitchell County) native and incumbent Ralph Hise (Republican) is unopposed in the General Election North Carolina State Senate District 47 race.

Hise will also win if he only gets one vote since he has no Democrat or other political party or parties’ opposition.

The District 47 seat is for a two-year term.

Since 2013, District 47 has covered all of Madison, Yancey, Mitchell, McDowell, Rutherford, and Polk counties. The district overlaps with the 85th, 112th, 113th, and 118th state house districts. But starting in 2023, District 47 will cover all of Avery, Madison, Yancey, Mitchell, Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany counties, as well as parts of Haywood and Caldwell counties.

Avery County has been part of North Carolina State Senate District 46, consisting of Avery, Burke and Caldwell counties. But starting in 2023, that district will cover all of Burke and McDowell counties, as well as part of Buncombe County.

Republican Seth Banks of Burnsville (Yancey County) is seeking re-election as District Attorney for North Carolina Prosecutorial District 35, which includes Avery, Watauga, Mitchell, Yancey and Madison counties.  Banks is unopposed as well.

The District 35 seat is for a four-year term.

Banks will win as well if he only gets one vote since he has no Democrat or other political party or parties’ opposition.

A sample ballot for all elections for Avery County voters is included with this article.

Further election and related details for Avery County may be obtained from the Avery County Board of Elections office, located in the Avery Court House Annex in Newland or by calling (828) 733-8282.