Apparently attracted by the presence of the so-called marriage amendment on the ballot, more than 500 people took advantage of the start of early voting Monday in Mount Airy.
By 5 p.m., some 525 people had cast ballots at the Surry County Human Services Center on State Street, according to Susan Jarrell, director of the local Board of Elections. And that was with three hours of voting still to go at the site located just off U.S. 601 behind Burger King and Arby’s.
Those citizens who are participating during the no-excuse, one-stop early voting period are avoiding possible long lines during next Tuesday’s primary. The service allows people who aren’t registered to sign up and vote all in one visit, which means there should be “no excuse” for not participating in the electoral process, officials have said.
A steady stream of voters was witnessed at the Mount Airy site after it opened Monday morning, which continued throughout the day.
As they headed into the Surry County Human Services Center, two people in the parking lot were urging them to vote for the marriage amendment. If successful, it will alter the North Carolina Constitution to make a domestic union between one man and one woman the only officially recognized marriage in the state.
“We’re getting a lot of comments on that here,” Jarrell said of another early voting site at the Board of Elections office in Dobson which began offering the service on April 19. She speculated that the issue apparently is fueling the strong voter interest in Mount Airy as well.
As of 5 p.m. Monday, 896 people had voted at the Dobson site, Jarrell said. Totals for another no-excuse station that opened Monday in Elkin were not available.
The overall citizen participation so far is a healthy sign, according to the elections director. “It’s a much-larger turnout than normal for a primary,” Jarrell said.
Early voting will continue at the Mount Airy location today through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Saturday, three days before the actual primary, ballots can be cast there from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Plenty of signs have been placed along U.S. 601 and other strategic locations to point the way to the site.
The service is available at the Board of Elections in Dobson today through Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Elkin Rescue Squad building at 940 N. Bridge St. is hosting early voting from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today through Friday, with the Saturday schedule to run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Any voter in Surry County can cast ballots at one of the three sites.
A person wishing to register and vote may appear in person at a one-stop absentee voting site, complete a registration form and provide proof of residence by presenting valid documents showing his or her present name and address.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.