The aftermath of Hurricane Matthew may still be impacting a lot of things across Sampson, but it’s not hindering the start of early voting nor voter registration, which was extended through Wednesday just to give those interested in signing up some extra time to do so.
Early voting kicks into gear this week, with residents able to cast a ballot beginning Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Sampson County Board of Elections, 120 County Complex Road, Clinton, and continuing through Nov. 5. Four additional early voting sites will open a week later, on Oct. 27, and continue through Nov. 5, all in an effort to give voters every opportunity to make their electoral choices.
Residents have until Wednesday to complete their voter registration because of an extended deadline related to the hurricane, an announcement made last Friday, the original deadline to sign up.
Because Sampson County is one of 36 counties receiving assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, it received the extension ordered by Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens which authorizes voter registration through the close of business, 5 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 19.
Ashley Pate Tew, director of the Sampson County Board of Elections said she was glad that the deadline was extended. She said board officials were concerned about residents being shut-in because of Hurricane Matthew and not having the opportunity to register.
“We want everybody to be able to voice their opinion and cast their vote,” Tew stressed.
Elections personnel have also been working with residents via absentee balloting, which began Sept. 9.
“That’s almost two-full months of voting by mail,” Tew said. “And we do have 17 days of early voting. So we really feel like everybody should be able to get out and vote this time, hopefully.”
Residents, Tew said, who are not registered by the deadline an also do so through the early voting process, which is referred to as Same-Day Registration and requires voting at that time.
“You do have to show proof of your current address,” Tew said. “That can be a valid photo ID, although you don’t have to show photo ID to vote.” If a driver’s license has a current address, it may be used. Other options include a utility bill or a government-issued document that shows proof of residency within the last 30 days.
Anyone who’s not registered to vote by 5 p.m. Oct. 19, can do it during one-stop voting, which would be Thursday, Oct. 20 through Saturday, Nov. 5.
Early voting hours will remain the same, from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., at the Board of Elections, Thursday, Oct. 20 through Wednesday, Oct. 26. For the remaining days, the Board of Elections will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, and Friday, Oct. 28; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29; 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30; 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31, through Friday, Nov. 4; and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5.
Off-site locations will open on Thursday, Oct. 27. Those sites are: Garland Town Hall, 190 S. Church St. Garland; Newton Grove Fire Station, 313 W. Weeksdale St. Newton Grove; Plain View Fire Station, 5041 Plain View Hwy., Dunn; and Roseboro Municipal Building, 101 W. Pleasant St. Roseboro.
From Thursday, Oct. 27, through Saturday, Nov. 5, the off-site hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on both Saturdays, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5.
For more information about voter registration online, visit www.sampsonnc.com/departments/boe.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.