By Jesse Wood
Only several more hours of early voting in the municipal elections exists through 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31. So far – as of Friday at around lunchtime – more than 600 people have voted early in Avery and Watauga counties.
Watauga County Board of Elections Director Matt Snyder said that 452 people had voted as of 1:21 p.m. on Friday. The “vast majority” of these folks who have voted reside in Boone, Snyder said.
Avery County Board of Elections Director Sheila Ollis said that 183 people in Avery County had voted early as of about 12:30 p.m. on Friday. Ollis said that 174 of the votes, which include some absentee ballots mailed in to the office, were from residents of Newland.
Both counties feature only one early voting site. In Watauga County, municipal residents can only vote early at the Watauga County Administration Building, which is located in downtown Boone. In Avery County, municipal residents can only vote early in elections office, which is located in the Avery County Courthouse in Newland.
Both counties also feature a number of uncontested races. In Watauga County, each municipality – Boone, Blowing Rock, Beech Mountain and Seven Devils – features an uncontested race. Meanwhile in Avery County, Newland, Elk Park and Beech Mountain feature contested races.
One reason, Newland residents are dominating in early voting – aside from proximity of the early voting site – is the referendum on beer and wine sales in the town. On the ballot, residents can vote to abolish the sell of wine and beer within town limits, which was narrowly approved during the 2009 election. This is a controversial topic that has divided residents in Newland.
Early voting for the 2015 municipal elections began on Thursday at 8 a.m. While Election Day takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 3, registered voters may cast their ballots through 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31.
For more information about early voting in Avery, contact the Avery County Board of Elections at 828-733-8282. See sample ballots here.
Early voting takes place in Watauga and Avery counties from Thursday – Friday, Oct. 22-23 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday-Friday, Oct. 26-30 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, Oct. 31 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Click here for info leading up to Election Day in Watauga and Avery counties.