By Harley Nefe
Today is Election Day, and the polls opened at 6:30 a.m. and will close at 7:30 p.m.
Watauga County Board of Elections Director Matt Snyder said as of 10:30 a.m. everything is going smoothly.
“I expect we’ll have some pretty good numbers today,” Snyder said. “We’re prepared for it. We have plenty of ballots to match our 2016 number turnout, and we have more in reserve.”
The total number of ballots cast in the early voting period in Watauga County was 27,424. This number comes close to the final vote total of the 2016 Election, which was 30,241.
Snyder further said it looks like it will be a mild voting turnout today with maybe around 5,000 folks casting ballots in Watauga County. As of 10 a.m., 1,251 ballots have been cast.
Many of the voting sites in the county do not have lines of residents waiting.
Susan McCracken, who is an observer at the Watauga High School gym which is the New River 1 precinct, said she had been there since around 6:15 a.m., and “it’s been seamless, and people are able to get in.”
She further said people were able to find out if they were in the right place or not, and some had to be redirected.
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/.
Due to COVID-19, many new voting sites are in use this election. 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.
Weapons (open or concealed) are not allowed at polling locations where there is a school, (University, Community College, Elementary, High School, or an associated educational satellite location), or a church that has daycare on site.
Watauga County residents who receive an absentee ballot by mail must return their ballot, enclosed in the container return envelope, in person to the Board of Elections office located in the Watauga County Courthouse at 842 West King Street in Boone by 5 p.m. today.
Voters may not drop their absentee ballots off at a polling place.
County boards of elections in North Carolina will also accept mail-in ballots received by Nov. 12, as long as they are postmarked by today. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Oct. 28 to uphold this deadline.