Early voting starts tomorrow
Beginning tomorrow, citizens from across North Carolina can put the 2016 election behind them by the simple act of voting early. Having done their civic duty, early voters can simply turn down (or turn off) the campaign rhetoric that dominates the air waves and enjoy the beautiful fall days.
There are once again three early voting sites in Haywood — the Senior Resources Center, 81 Elmwood Way, Waynesville; the Canton branch of Haywood County library system, 11 Pennsylvania Ave., Canton and Clyde Town Hall, 8427 Carolina Blvd., Clyde. Until Oct. 27, polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. After that, the polls will remain open until 5:30.
On the Saturday before Election Day, Nov. 5, all three sites will be open from 8 a.m. until noon.
The deadline to register for vote has already passed, but there is a same-day registration process available during the early voting process. Individuals who have not registered or have moved since they last voted need to bring proof of residency with them to the polls. Acceptable proof includes a driver’s license, a utility bill, a vehicle registration or insurance paperwork. If the proof is acceptable, the individual may both register and vote.
Sample ballots will be available at the polling sites and can be found on the Haywood County website under the elections department.
In addition to the candidate races from conservation district all the way up to president, Haywood voters can weigh in on whether beer or wine can be sold in the unincorporated areas of the county. There are actually four issues to consider — 1) whether malt beverages should be sold in the county either off-premises such as convenience stores, 2) or on-premises in restaurants; 3) whether wine can be sold off-premises or 4) on premises.
Deputy Election Director Marlene Ferguson said poll workers can offer absolutely no explanations at the polling sites, which means voters who have questions about the issues or candidates should do their homework before going to the polls.
She expects lines this year based on the voter turnout in past presidential elections. In 2008, for instance, about 15,000 voters cast ballots in the early voting process compared to the 12,000 who voted on Election Day.
So, if you are planning to vote during a work break or lunch hour, plan on perhaps taking a little extra time to complete the process if necessary.
As with all elections, voter participation is the glue that helps hold our democracy together. Please don’t take your right to vote for granted. Casting a ballot is not just a right. It’s a responsibility. Do your part.