Watauga County Primary Elections Update: Satellite Early Voting Sites Now Available

Published Monday, April 30, 2018 at 1:35 pm

By Luke Weir

The third week of one stop early primary voting is underway in Watauga County, where so far voter turnout has been modest, but is expected to pick up this week with five additional satellite polling places opening up around Watauga starting Monday at 10 a.m., according to county board of elections director Matthew Snyder.

“It’s been fairly quiet, we’ve had about 365 voters last I checked, about 50 a day,” Snyder said on Friday. “I would say turnout is fairly typical of a non-presidential primary election.”

For the past two weeks, since April 19, the only place voters have been able to cast their ballots is at the Watauga County Administration Building on 814 W King St., in the county commissioners boardroom. This week, through Friday, May 4, the administration building will be open once more from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In addition to the county administration building site, there are five satellite polling places dotted around Watauga County, available Monday, April 30 through Friday, May 4, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Snyder said. The satellite sites are as follows: Blue Ridge Ballroom in Appalachian State University’s Plemmons Student Union, Blowing Rock Town Hall, Deep Gap Fire Department, Meat Camp Fire Department, and the Western Watauga Community Center.

“I expect to see a jump in participation when our satellite sites open up,” Snyder said. “If people missed the voter registration cutoff, they can still show up at one stop early voting, register and vote all on the same day.”

To register at a one stop early voting site, Snyder said valid proof of residence in Watauga County must be provided.

During primary elections, voters cast their ballots based on political party affiliation. On Democratic ballots in Watauga, there is only one race to vote for, between two candidates for U.S. House of Representatives. Meanwhile, Republican ballots include 5 primary contests: one for U.S. House of Representatives, two for North Carolina General Assembly, one for Watauga County Board of Commissioners and one for Watauga County Sheriff.

“Turnout so far has been pretty 50-50,” Snyder said. “Maybe 55-45 with the Democratic ballot ahead of the Republican ballot, but so far it’s been pretty close.”

Additionally, all primary ballots include a final vote on a one-quarter cent sales tax referendum. If passed, proceeds from the new tax would be used to reduce the property tax rate in Watauga County, according to a resolution adopted by the Watauga County Board of Commissioners Feb. 20.

The last day to participate in one stop early voting is back at the Watauga County Administration Building on Saturday, May 5 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. After early voting is over, May 8 is primary election day in North Carolina, starting at 6:30 a.m., ending at 7:30 p.m. Election Day polling places are sorted by precinct, available on the Watauga County Board of Elections website.

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