Elect 2012: Saturday is last chance to vote early

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 3, 2012

By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — As the end of early voting approaches this weekend, the county elections director says the number of ballots cast could match what it was four years ago.
At the main branch of the Rowan Public Library in Salisbury, one-stop voting ends at 1 p.m. Saturday. It ends at 5 p.m. Friday for the east and south branches in Rockwell and China Grove. After that, the polls won’t open until the morning of Election Day on Tuesday.
Nancy Evans, Rowan County elections director, said about 3,400 people had voted as of 4 p.m. Wednesday, and the number has been going up every day.
That’s already more than the 2,641 who cast ballots in the 2010 primary early voting period, but still less than the 4,493 who voted early in the 2008 primary.
“I feel like it’s going to be pretty close to 2008,” Evans said.
In 2008, voters were not only casting ballots for local and state races, but also presidential primaries in both major parties. This year, Democratic President Barack Obama is running for re-election, and the Republican nominee is presumed to be Mitt Romney.
“There could be a lot of factors involved,” Evans said. “It is a presidential primary, but for North Carolina, we kind of know who it’s going to be. There’s also a constitutional amendment on the ballot this time.”
The amendment would prevent the state from recognizing any “domestic legal union” besides marriage between one man and one woman.
Several voters interviewed Wednesday said the amendment is an important issue to them, and one said it’s the main reason she’s voting in the primary.
At the main library branch, a couple and their three young sons approached with a sign in support of the amendment. Gwen Eagle, a Salisbury resident, set it up next to a row of campaign signs Wednesday afternoon while her husband, Zach, and three sons went inside.
“My pastor and his wife were out here earlier in the week, but the signs they put up have been removed,” Eagle said. “We haven’t removed the signs saying to vote ‘no.’ ”
She and her husband came to vote early “so we don’t have the hassle” on Election Day, Eagle said, and to teach their young children about voting and standing up for their beliefs.
Shirley Johnson also said she’s focused on the amendment, but for a different reason. “I’m hoping people will read beyond the smokescreen and vote against it,” she said. “I also want to be sure people understand the importance of the primary. So many people say they’ll just wait until the general election.”
Johnson said she typically volunteers at election time, and this year she hopes to help drive senior adults to their polling places on Tuesday.
Kenneth Stubbs, of Landis, came to vote at the library’s south branch Wednesday with China Grove’s Floyd Stubbs and Mavis Chavez.
“I’m a 12-hour man (at work), so this helps me out a whole lot,” he said. He and Floyd Stubbs both said they decided to vote early because it’s convenient. “We wanted to get in here before the crowd,” Floyd Stubbs said.
Early voting hours for this weekend are:
Rowan Public Library, 201 W. Fisher St., Salisbury
• 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday
• 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday
East Branch, Rowan Public Library, 110 Broad St., Rockwell
• 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday
South Branch, Rowan Public Library, 920 Kimball Road, China Grove
•10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday
Cabarrus County Board of Elections office, 369 Church St. N, Concord
• 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday
• 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.
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