A special service, which allows early birds to cast ballots more than a week before the May 4 primary, begins today in Mount Airy.
The one-stop early voting program is being offered at the Mount Airy Public Library at 145 Rockford St., and will continue all this week. Hours today through Thursday are 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., with an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule to be observed on Friday. The service also will be available on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Elkin is operating a one-stop early voting site as well, at the Elkin Rescue Squad building at 940 N. Bridge St. Hours there are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
The service has been available at the Surry County Board of Elections in Dobson since April 15, where Deputy Director Angie Harrison reported a “good” turnout in its initial stages. Harrison also said the elections office had fielded “lots of inquiries” concerning when the Mount Airy early voting site at the city library would be operational.
This week’s hours at the Dobson location are 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Friday and 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
One-stop early voting serves a dual purpose, including allowing citizens to avoid possible long lines on May 4 or to cast ballots if they plan to be out of town that day.
Also, it offers a type of reprieve for North Carolina residents who are qualified to vote but missed the 25-day deadline for registering to take part in an election. They can register and cast a ballot at an early voting site during the one-stop absentee period, which extends from 19 to three days before the primary day.
However, this process for new registrants — also known as “same-day registration” — can’t be used on May 4.
A person wanting to register and vote at the same time is asked to bring identification containing his or her name and address.
Although one-stop voting ends on Saturday, those already registered can return absentee ballots until next Monday, the day before the primary.
Both registered Democratic and Republican voters will have choices on the ballot, while those who are unaffiliated can choose to vote for candidates of either party, but must pick one for purposes of the primary.
Republican voters, for example, will select their party’s nominee for the N.C. Senate seat between incumbent Don East of Pilot Mountain and Paul Johnson of Westfield.
The winner of that contest will square off against the victor of a Democratic primary between Ric Marshall of Ararat and Robert Nickell of Westfield in the general election in November.
Among other notable primary races, Rep. Virginia Foxx is seeking to hold off a challenge to her Fifth District congressional seat from fellow GOP member Keith Gardner. The winner advances to the general election to face Democrat William B. Kennedy, who has no primary opposition.
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr is on the Republican primary ballot against three other candidates: Larry Linney, Brad Jones and Eddie Burks.
Vying for Burr’s Senate seat on the Democratic side are Marcus W. Williams, Ann Worthy, Elaine Marshall, Ken Lewis, Susan Harris and Cal Cunningham.