By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • The North Carolina State Board of Elections this week chose one of two proposed, competing plans submitted by the Hoke County Board of Elections to set early voting hours and locations for the county.
The NCSBE chose the plan that was submitted by the Democrat members of the Hoke Board of Elections over the plan created by John Harry, a Republican member and secretary of the five-person board. The plans both had the same number of total hours for early voting, but had differences in the proposed days and locations.
Hoke County voters can cast their ballot in person during one-stop early voting beginning Monday, October 15. Early voting will run Monday-Friday from October 15 to October 31, from 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. each weekday. One-stop early voting will also be available on weekends, including Saturday, October 17 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday, October 18 from 2 p.m.-6 p.m., Saturday, October 24 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday, October 25 from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday, October 31 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
One-stop early voting in Hoke County will take place at the Board of Elections Office in the Pratt Building, 227 North Main Street in Raeford, and the Rockfish community building, 27479 Lindsay Road in Rockfish.
Harry’s plan, which the NCSBE did not select, proposed holding early voting at the county’s new agriculture center on Palmer Street, instead of at the Pratt Building. Harry proposed the new center as an early voting location because he said it could offer better air circulation, more parking and better security than the Pratt Building. Harry’s proposed plan also extended voting hours on Saturdays and did not feature Sunday voting.
County boards were allowed to submit up to two competing plans, a “majority” plan and a “minority” plan, to the NCSBE. The state board’s decision on the early voting plan is considered final.
“The State chose the majority plan,” Hoke County Elections Director Towanna Jackson confirmed in an email Monday, in response to News-Journal questions. “There is no changing of this plan and this is the one that will be posted on the County website.”
The voting hours are posted online at https://www.hokecounty.net/235/Elections.
Absentee ballots requested
So far, Hoke County voters have already requested more than 1,300 absentee ballots for the upcoming 2020 General Election. Elections officials are still keying in more requests, Jackson said.
People who are voting with a mailed-in absentee ballot should mail the ballot as soon as the voter completes it, the elections director said. However, there are also other options for returning an absentee ballot other than by mail. The voter or a near relative can also choose to deliver the ballot to the elections office in person.
“If a voter is unsure of the mail, they or a near relative can bring the absentee (ballot) to the office and they have to log it in and sign that they are authorized to have the ballot in their possession,” Jackson said in an email.
For questions or more information on registering to vote, or questions about how to vote, contact the Hoke County Board of Elections at (910) 875-9062.
Poll workers needed
The Hoke County Board of Elections is looking for registered voters who would like to work during the November 2020 General Election. Election Day staff needed include poll worker assistants and student assistants. Anyone interested can call the Board of Elections office at (910) 875-9062.