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One-stop voting starts Thursday

By Steve Huffman
shuffman@salisburypost.com
One-stop absentee ó also known as “early” ó voting starts Oct. 15.
By most accounts, it’s the wave of the future.
“It’s the coming thing,” said Nancy Evans, supervisor of the Rowan County Board of Elections.
The times and locations of early voting are:
– At the Board of Elections Office in the Rowan County Administration Building at 130 W. Innes St., Salisbury. Hours for early voting are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, from Oct. 15 to Oct. 30, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 31.
– At the east branch of the Rowan Public Library, 110 Broad St., Rockwell. Hours of early voting are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Oct. 23 to Oct. 30. The library is closed Oct. 25.
– At the south branch of the Rowan Public Library, 920 Kimball Road, China Grove. Hours of early voting are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Oct. 23 to Oct. 30. The library is closed Oct. 25.
Evans said that in 2008, more Rowan County voters took advantage of early voting than made it to the polls on election day. A year ago, 68.61 percent of the county’s registered voters cast ballots through both early and election-day voting.
Turnout for this year’s election will likely be markedly less. Evans noted that in 2007 ó the last year that an election centered around municipal contests ó 15.09 percent of the county’s voters bothered to cast ballots.
Turnout for this year’s elections, Evans admitted, probably won’t top that figure.
But she said the popularity of early voting ó where voters mark the same ballots they’d have marked on election day ó is growing.
“It’s increasing all the time,” Evans said. “People are getting more familiar with it.”
She said the selling point for voters is the ease of the process. They can stop at select voting sites anytime in the week prior to elections and cast their ballots.
There’s seldom a line. The whole process is simple and easy.
The same, Evans said, can be said of how easy it is for board of elections workers to handle early voting. She said it’s far more simple to prepare for early voting than it is to prepare all the precincts for election-day balloting.
Evans said that for that reason and more, state board of elections officers predict that a form of early voting will eventually be the only way voters cast ballots.

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