By Harley Nefe
Watauga County Board of Elections Director Matt Snyder said Watauga County is celebrating a remarkable turnout for absentee and early voting, as the total number of ballots cast following the last day of the early voting period was 27,424.
This number comes close to the final vote total including Election Day 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. 31 was 4,929, and the total number of early-voting ballots cast as of the same day was 22,495.
The breakdown of the voting totals by voting site is as follows:
The early voting location on Appalachian State University’s campus remained the busiest location with a total of 6,320 votes cast on Friday, Oct. 30. After Saturday, Oct. 31, the number of votes cast was 6,597.
The Watauga County Administration Building had a total of 5,057 votes cast on Oct. 30, and the number increased to 5,266 after Oct. 31.
Deep Gap is next on the list with a total of 3,707 ballots cast on Oct. 30. After Oct. 31, the number was 3,893.
Western Watauga Community Center had a total of 2,672 ballots cast on Oct. 30. After Oct. 31, the location had a total of 2,799.
Blowing Rock had a total of 2,351 ballots cast on Oct. 30. After Oct. 31, it had 2,421.
Lastly, Foscoe had a total of 1,453 ballots cast on day 14 of the early voting period. After day 15, the number was 1,519.
Oct. 31 was the last day of the early voting period in North Carolina.
Voters who receive an absentee ballot by mail may 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.
Voters may not drop their ballots off at a polling place 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.
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.
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.