By Tim Gardner
Final early voting statistics released for Avery County by the North Carolina Board of Elections indicate the county’s voters have a colossal interest in the 2020 General Election.
North Carolina State Board of Elections data showed that early voting in Avery County continued at a steady volume since it began Thursday, October 15. According to those voting statistics, 5,895 of Avery’s registered voters (47.6 percent) cast their votes before early voting ended Saturday afternoon, Oct. 31, at 3:00 p.m. That included 5,015 votes cast by one-stop voting and 880 cast by mail.
According to the State Board of Elections weekly updated voters’ statistics on October 31, there are 12,364 registered voters in Avery County. That total includes 7,165 Republicans; 1,429 Democrats; 3,694 Unaffiliated; 61 Libertarians; 9 Constitution Party voters; and 6 Green Party voters.
Across the state, 4,573,971 of North Carolina’s 7,367,696 registered voters have already cast ballots as of 5:30 p.m. Monday evening (Nov. 2) according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections. That equals 62 percent. 3,617,422 voted across the state by one-stop voting and 956,549 by mail (both by 5:30 p.m., Nov. 2). The State Board of Elections also reports that approximately 139,900 voters requested absentee ballots, but have not voted as of 5:30 p.m., Nov. 2.
In Avery County, Republicans Teresa Benfield (Clerk of Superior Court), Renee Dellinger (Register of Deeds) and Jeff Pollard (Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor) are unopposed by a Democratic candidate for their respective office.
Each will serve a four -year term.
Incumbent Coroner John Millan is being challenged by fellow-Republican write-in candidate Kay Grubbs for Coroner. The winner of this race will serve a four-year term.
Three seats are open on the Avery County Commission. The three candidates with the most votes will serve four-year terms, while the candidate with the third most votes will serve a two-year term.
Republican incumbents Martha Jaynes Hicks, Tim Phillips and Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr. are unopposed by a Democratic candidate to fill those seats.
Additionally, elections for the nation’s president, North Carolina governor, a U.S. Senator, and other state, national and local district races are on the 2020 ballot, including N.C. House District 85, N.C. Senate District 46 and numerous races for North Carolina judicial seats.
In the NC House District 85 Race, Marion resident, Newland native and former McDowell County Sheriff Dudley Greene, a Republican, is squaring off against Marion resident, Democrat Ted Remington, for the right to represent Avery, Mitchell and McDowell counties in the State House.
And in the NC Senate, District 46, Incumbent Republican Warren Daniel is running against Democrat Edward William Phifer. Both Daniel and Phifer are from Morganton.
NC District 46 consists of Avery, Burke and Caldwell counties.
Also, Nebo and former Newland resident Josh Dobson is the Republican candidate for NC Commissioner of Labor. He is running against Democrat Jessica Holmes of Raleigh.
Dobson served four terms in the NC House of Representatives and is a former McDowell County Commissioner.
A sample ballot for all Avery County Votes may be found by logging online to this address: http://www.averycountync.gov/departments/docs/AVERY-20201103-SAMPLE-U-B0001-GEN.pdf
In 2020, every voting site in North Carolina offers curbside voting for voters who are unable to enter the voting place without physical assistance due to age or disability.
The term “disability” means if you:
*Are unable to enter the polling place due to age or physical or mental disability, such as agoraphobia;
*Have a medical condition that puts you at increased risk of COVID-19;
*Should not wear a mask due to a medical or behavioral condition or disability; or
*Are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
*In addition to making polling places accessible to voters, the State Board of Elections strives to provide voters with options if they are unable to make it inside the polling place to vote.
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.
Curbside voting is offered at each Election Day polling place and one-stop early voting site. 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.
A curbside voter has the same rights to assistance as any other voter. Information on the particulars of curbside voting at a specific polling place or early voting site can be obtained from the site’s respective county board of elections. Voting a mail-in absentee ballot from home is another option.
Voters may contact the elections office to request an absentee ballot be mailed to them. The deadline to submit an absentee ballot request for the Nov. 3, 2020, General Election is 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27. 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 Nov. 6.
*By commercial courier service (DHL, FedEx or UPS)
*Dropped off in person at the county board of elections office by 5:00 p.m. Election Day (November 3)
*Dropped off in person at the early voting site in the county during voting hours (October 26–31).
Note that voted absentee ballots will not be accepted at polling places on Election Day.
Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3, at the following 19 precincts across Avery County, where curb-side voting may also be done:
Altamont — Crossnore Town Hall Annex – 1 Fountain Circle, Crossnore, 28616
Banner Elk — Banner Elk Town Hall – 200 Park Avenue, Banner Elk, 28604
Beech Mountain — Beech Mountain Elementary School – 60 Flat Springs Road, Elk Park, 28622
Carey’s Flat — Hopewell Baptist Church – 5104 Edgemont Road, Collettsville, 28611
Cranberry — Historic Cranberry High School – 5215 Elk Park Highway, Elk Park, 28622
Elk Park — Avery County Rescue Squad Building – 205 Ice Plant Street, Elk Park, 28622
Frank — Frank Fire Department – 699 North US 19E, Newland, 28657
Heaton — Heaton Christian Church – 210 Curtis Creek Road, Elk Park, 28622
Hughes — Chestnut Dale Baptist Church – 1700 Squirrel Creek Road, Newland, 28657
Ingalls — Green Valley Fire Hall – 8062 South US 19E, Newland, 28657
Linville — Linville Fire Hall – 590 NC 105, Newland, 28657
Minneapolis — Minneapolis Baptist Church Fellowship Hall – 47 Minneapolis School Road, Newland, 28657
Montezuma — Aaron Baptist Church – 24 Aaron Church Lane, Newland, 28657
Newland #1 — Morrison Library – 150 Library Road, Newland, 28657
Newland #2 — Avery County Senior Center – 155 Schultz Circle, Newland, 28657
Pineola — Land Harbor Recreation Complex – 22 Land Harbor Parkway, Newland, 28657
Plumtree — Riverside Elementary School – 8020 South US Highway 19E, Newland, 28657
Pyatte — Pyatte Community Center – 141 Rodgers Ridge Road, Newland, 28657
Roaring Creek — Roaring Creek Missionary Baptist Church -2044 Roaring Creek Road, Newland 28657