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One-stop voting kicks off Thursday

With less than a month until Election Day, Beaufort County voters will have their first chance to cast in-person ballots this week, as one-stop voting sites open in Washington and Chocowinity.

For the most part, one-stop voting will look similar to prior years, although Beaufort County Board of Elections Director Kellie Hopkins says the realities of COVID-19 have prompted some changes at polling sites.

“We do ask that folks wear a mask to protect our poll workers,” Hopkins said. “We will have disposable masks for voters who don’t have one, and we’re preparing for COVID issues such as social distancing and sanitation.”

WHERE AND HOW TO VOTE DURING ONE-STOP

Starting Thursday, one-stop voting sites will open at the Beaufort County Board of Elections (1308 Highland Drive, Suite 104, Washington) and the Chocowinity Fire Department (512 N.C. Highway 33 East, Chocowinity).

Both locations will remain open from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays through Oct. 31. Weekend hours on Oct. 17 and 24 will be from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. On the final day of one-stop voting, Oct. 31, hours will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

One-stop voting sites at the Aurora Community Building (442 Third St., Aurora) and the John A. Wilkinson Center (144 W. Main St., Belhaven) will open for voters starting Oct. 24, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Those sites will remain open from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26-30, with the final day of one-stop voting scheduled from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 31.

Those who are not yet registered to vote may do so during one-stop voting, provided they bring a government-issued photo ID or proof of residence. No ID is required to vote in the 2020 election, however.

ABSENTEE NUMBERS UP

Already the Beaufort County Board of Elections has received 4,014 absentee ballot requests for the 2020 election. Beaufort County Board of Elections Director Kellie Hopkins says that 1,718 of those absentee ballots had already been returned as of Monday. In comparison, only 576 Beaufort County voters requested absentee ballots during the 2016 presidential elections.

Want more information about local candidates before casting your vote? Be sure to check out the 2020 Election Guide, included in this weekend’s edition of the Washington Daily News. With candidate profiles, voting information and sample ballots, voters will be able to go to the polls ready to make an informed decision. For additional information about the 2020 elections in Beaufort County, visit www.beaufortncboe.org.