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Not Record Breaking: More than 15,000 Wataugans Vote Early, Accounting for 34 Percent of Registered Voters

By Jesse Wood

Nov. 3, 2012. While there was talk of record-breaking early vote totals across the state, Watauga County fell significantly short of early vote totals from 2008, where nearly 19,000 residents voted before Election Day.

After the last poll closed on Saturday at 1 p.m., Watauga County Board of Elections Director Jane Hodges said that 15,318 people, including those who mailed absentee ballots, voted. 

“We are pleased, very pleased,” Hodges said of the number of voters, some who braved the storms early in the week to cast their ballots.

Early last week during the winter weather, Hodges stated that the bad weather affected voter turnout “big time” and at the beginning of early voting, she mentioned that she hoped early voter turnout would exceed 60 percent of the registered voters in the county.

That, of course, didn’t happen. Only about 34 percent of the 44,000- or-so registered voters voted.

Here’s a breakdown of the totals at each of the three early-voting sites:

Watauga County Courthouse: 9,393

ASU: 5,326

Foscoe: 599

With the staff of Watauga County Board of Elections gearing up for Election Day, Hodges said she was too busy to breakdown the party affiliation of the voters for High Country Press.

However, Civitas Vote Tracker can shed some light on the 13,336 voters that went to the polls on or before Nov. 1.

According to Civitas, 34 percent of those voters were Democrats, 33 percent were Republicans and 32 percent were unaffiliated.

70 percent of the voters tracked by Civitas resided in the Town of Boone. Residents of Blowing Rock, Vilas, Banner Elk, Sugar Grove and Zionville accounted for 25 percent of the early voters.

If  you haven’t voted yet and are registered to vote, there’s still time. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.

All voting places in Watauga County will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Election Day. Below is a listing of all the precincts.

Precincts Open on Election Day: 

1 Bald Mountain Todd Fire Department
2 Beaver Dam Beaver Dam Fire Department
3 Blowing Rock Blowing Rock Town Hall
4 Blue Ridge Laurel Fork Baptist Church
5 Boone 1 Watauga County Admin Building 
6 Boone 2 Plemmons Student Union – Table Rock Room 
7 Brushy Fork Oak Grove Baptist Church
8 Cove Creek Western Watauga Community Center
9 Elk Stewart Simmons Fire Department
10 Laurel Creek Cove Creek Fire Department
11 Meat Camp Green Valley Elementary School
12 Boone 3 Agricultural Conference Center
13 New River 1 Boone Town Hall – Council Chambers
14 New River 2 Three Forks Baptist Association
15 New River 3 National Guard Armory
16 North Fork Edgar Eller’s Garage
17 Shawneehaw Matney Community Center
18 Stony Fork Deep Gap Fire Department
19 Watauga Foscoe Fire Department
20 Beech Mountain Buckeye Recreation Center