City to offer one-stop voting

First Posted: 8/31/2009

The opening of a one-stop voting site in Mount Airy later this month will allow city residents to get a head start on casting ballots for a mayoral primary on Oct. 6.
Officials with the Surry County Board of Elections have announced that the no-excuse one-stop satellite voting program will operate in the conference room at the Mount Airy Public Library from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3.
The early voting service also will be available at the Board of Elections office in Dobson from Sept. 17 to Oct. 3.
Anyone who lives in the Mount Airy city limits can go to either one of our one-stop locations, said county Elections Clerk Libby Tilley.
The one-stop process allows someone planning to be out of town on Election Day or wishing to avoid long lines the option of voting beforehand. For those who havent registered to vote, it represents an opportunity to register and cast a ballot at the same time.
Someone registering at one-stop sites must present a type of identification listing their physical address, Tilley said, along with completing a form.
However, voters who arent registered will not be allowed to do so on the day of the Oct. 6 primary itself. Registration books will close on Sept. 11 for persons who plan to vote that day who dont take advantage of the one-stop program.
The schedule for the Mount Airy early voting location will coincide with the library hours, which will be 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1; 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 2; and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 3 (which is a Saturday). That site is acceptable to persons with disabilities.
Hours for the one-stop voting in Dobson to begin on Sept. 17 in the Board of Elections office will be 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday and Saturday, Oct. 3, from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The county elections office is located on the ground floor of the new courthouse in Dobson.
Price Tag Grows
The presence of the one-stop location at the Mount Airy Public Library will save those wishing to vote early a trip to the county seat. However, that convenience is coming at a cost.
Tilley said that while the Board of Elections is required to host the service, the providing of one-stop voting in Mount Airy represents an extra accommodation that must be funded by the city government.
It will cost an estimated $3,400 to operate the satellite location at the library during the four-day period scheduled, according to Susan Jarrell, county elections director. That will push up the cost of the primary to more than $10,000.
I think it will probably run between 11 and 12 thousand dollars, Jarrell added Monday.
Some have questioned the expense involved with conducting a primary and suggested that Mount Airys primary system, in effect since the mid-1990s, be abandoned in favor of having all candidates square off in the general election instead.
Under present policy, the municipality holds a primary if more than two candidates file for a particular office. Four hopefuls Gene Clark, Deborah Cochran, Paul Eich and Teresa Lewis are running for mayor this year.
The two top vote-getters in the Oct. 6 primary will face each other in the Nov. 3 general election.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.

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