112-year-old voters likely result of filing quirk
By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY - Rowan County has five 112-year-old registered voters, according to official elections records.
Conservative blogs and websites have noted an oddly large number of 112-year-olds voting early this year in North Carolina. In 2010, the Civitas Institute reported that nearly 3,000 voters aged 110 had voted by one-stop absentee ballot.
But these supercentenarian voters aren't evidence of fraud, said County Elections Director Nancy Evans, though there are no known living residents of that age in Rowan.
Instead, it's the result of a filing quirk that's probably common to many counties in North Carolina, she said.
"At one time, the old registration form didn't require a date of birth. It just had '21 plus,' " Evans said. "When the computer system changed, we had to put in a date of birth. For those, we just put Jan. 1, 1900."
She said none of the five in Rowan County have cast a ballot yet in 2012. Three are considered inactive, meaning they haven't voted in many years. The other two last voted in 1996 and 2009.
"All of these are women," Evans said. "When it asked them for a date of birth, a lot of them would just put '21 plus' because they didn't want to give their birthdate."
If they didn't change their registration in the last few decades, these voters would not have been required to add a valid date of birth.
Also, Evans said if the county elections office can't confirm that a voter has died, it keeps that person on the registration list for a certain period of time. One woman is registered with a 1901 birthdate, which would make her 111 years old. But she hasn't voted since 1998.
Voters have just three more days to cast their ballots early this year.
Early voting is open until 1 p.m. Saturday at the Rowan Public Library headquarters in Salisbury. All other locations will close to voters at 5 p.m. Friday.
Evans said about 23,000 people had voted as of 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. The total amount of early votes cast in the 2008 general election was 33,000.
"We still have a few more days to get there," she said.
During early voting, people who still need to register or change their registration can do so on the same day they cast their ballot.
To register, North Carolinians must bring proof of residency and identification to a one-stop early voting site. A full list of acceptable documents is available online at www.rowancountync.gov by clicking the "Departments" drop-down menu at the left and choosing "Board of Elections."
"If anyone's had an address change or haven't registered and are Rowan County residents... (these are) the only locations that can handle that at the same time as voting," Evans said. "We do not do same-day registrations on Election Day."
The Rowan Public Library headquarters, 201 W. Fisher St. in Salisbury, will hold early voting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Friday. It is the only site that will also be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
The following locations are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Friday:
• Former DSS Building, 165 Mahaley Ave., Salisbury
• Cleveland Town Hall, 302 E. Main St., Cleveland
• Spencer Municipal Building, 600 S. Salisbury Ave., Spencer
• Rowan Public Library East branch, 110 Broad St., Rockwell
• Rowan Public Library South branch, 920 Kimball Road, China Grove
For more information, call the Rowan County Board of Elections at 704-216-8140.