By Harley Nefe
Saturday, Oct. 31, is the last day in the early voting period for North Carolina. Early voting sites will be open today until 7:30 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow.
Watauga County residents can vote at any of the six early voting locations in Watauga County.
These locations include:
- App State – Plemmons Student Union – Blue Ridge Ballroom
- Blowing Rock Town Hall
- Deep Gap Fire Department
- High Country Vacation Homes (Foscoe)
- Western Watauga Community Center
- Watauga County Administration Building, Commissioners’ Board Room
If someone is not registered to vote, they can do same day registration and voting at a voting site during the early voting period. However, folks can not register to vote on Election Day, which is Nov. 3.
The latest total number of early-voting ballots cast in Watauga County as of day 13 of the early voting period, which was Oct. 29, is 24,428. This number can be compared to the final vote total of the 2016 Election, which was 30,241 in Watauga County.
The total of absentee by mail ballots collected in Watauga County as of Oct. 29 was 4,444, and the total number of early-voting ballots cast as of the same day was 19,984.
The early voting location on Appalachian State’s campus remains the busiest location with a total of 5,764 votes cast so far. The Watauga County Administration Building has had 4,681 early voters. Deep Gap is next on the list with 3,461 early voting ballots, followed by the Western Watauga Community Center with 2,518 ballots, Blowing Rock with 2,199 ballots, and Foscoe with 1,361 ballots.
Voters who receive an absentee ballot by mail may deliver their completed ballot to an election official at an early voting site in their county. Ballots will be kept securely and delivered to the county board of elections for processing. Voters may not drop their ballots off at a polling place on Election Day.
Voters may also return their ballot, enclosed in the container return envelope, in person to their county board of elections office by 5 p.m. on Election Day.
County boards of elections in North Carolina will accept mail-in ballots received by Nov. 12, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday to uphold this deadline.
“Even with the deadline extension, we encourage voters to return their absentee ballot as soon as possible and ensure it is postmarked,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “Please make sure your ballot is counted. Return it now.”
An absentee ballot is timely if it is received by the county board by 5 p.m. on Election Day, or is postmarked on or before Election Day and received by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12.
A ballot will be considered postmarked by Election Day if it has a postmark or if there is information in BallotTrax, or another tracking service offered by the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier, indicating that the ballot was in the custody of the Postal Service or the commercial carrier on or before Election Day.
After the early voting period, the last chance for registered voters to vote in the 2020 Election is on Election Day. Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.
Due to COVID-19, many new voting sites are in use this election. Voters must vote at their designated precinct polling place. If voters are unsure of their polling location, they may go to https://vt.ncsbe.gov/PPLkup/. Please see the list of the 20 Watauga County Election Day polling sites below:
Bald Mountain, Green Valley School Gym (FORMERLY TODD FIRE DEPARTMENT)
Beaver Dam, Bethel School Gym (FORMERLY BEAVER DAM FIRE DEPARTMENT)
Blowing Rock, Blowing Rock School Gym (FORMERLY BLOWING ROCK TOWN HALL)
Blue Ridge, Watauga High School Gym (FORMERLY LAUREL FORK BAPTIST CHURCH)
Boone 1, Hardin Park School Gym (FORMERLY COUNTY ADMINISTRATION BUILDING)
Boone 2, ASU Plemmons Student Union – Blue Ridge Ballroom
Brushy Fork, Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute, BLDG 460 (FORMERLY OAK GROVE BAPTIST CHURCH)
Cove Creek, Cove Creek School Gym (FORMERLY ZIONVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT STATION 2)
Elk, Stewart Simmons Fire Department
Laurel Creek, Bethel School Gym (FORMERLY COVE CREEK FIRE DEPARTMENT)
Meat Camp, Green Valley School Gym (FORMERLY MEAT CAMP FIRE DEPARTMENT)
Boone 3, Agricultural Conference Center
New River 1, Watauga High School Gym (FORMERLY BOONE TOWN CHAMBERS)
New River 2, Hardin Park School Gym click (FORMERLY THREE FORKS BAPTIST ASSOCIATION)
New River 3, National Guard Armory
North Fork, Green Valley School Gym (FORMERLY EDGAR ELLER’S GARAGE)
Shawneehaw, Valle Crucis School Gym (FORMERLY MATNEY COMMUNITY CENTER)
Stony Fork, Deep Gap Fire Department
Watauga, Valle Crucis School Gym (FORMERLY FOSCOE FIRE DEPARTMENT)
Beech Mountain, Buckeye Recreation Center.