By Catharin Shepard
Callie Buie had to lean on a walker as she went into the county one-stop voting site Monday, but the 101-year-old woman was determined to cast her ballot in the election.
“I always do that,” Buie said, as her grandson Jackie Galbreath helped her back to the car.
Voter turnout in the one-stop early voting has been about the same as usual, or just a little above the typical numbers, according to Hoke County Board of Elections Director Caroline Shook.
Early voting opened last week and runs through November 1. The voting sites for one-stop voting are the county building on Main Street in downtown Raeford and in the Rockfish Community Center at 2749 Lindsay Road. Early voting is open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. until this Friday, October 31, and will also be open from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. this Saturday, November 1. Election Day is Tuesday, November 4.
As of Monday afternoon, 1,541 people had cast absentee ballots in the election, according to Hoke County Board of Elections figures.
No identification is necessary to vote in this election, but voters will be asked if they have identification as part of a process to make sure voters are prepared for the 2016 elections. Under state law, starting in 2016 voters in North Carolina must present I.D. to vote.
Precinct split in Puppy Creek
The population boom in eastern Hoke County forced the elections board to split the Puppy Creek precinct this year, with some voters now going to Don Steed Elementary on November 4 to cast their vote in the election.
Parker Church Road is the dividing line, with people on the western side of the line now a part of the newly created Philippi voting precinct and people on the eastern side of the line a part of the Puppy Creek voting precinct.
However, the split meant finding a new polling place. Elections officials had a choice between setting up voting at Don Steed Elementary or at a nearby church, and chose the school for people in the new Philippi precinct.
Because the school will be in session on Election Day, the elections board asked the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office to have officers on the site to direct traffic. They are not there to influence voters, only to keep traffic moving safely, especially during the morning and afternoon hours when school buses will enter and exit the school parking lot, Shook said.
“We are trying to ward off traffic problems,” she said.
Due to the school’s layout, there were worries that some voters might have trouble figuring out how to get into the voting site, she said.
“They’re going to be inclined to go in the front door,” Shook said. However, the school does not want voters going in from the front and instead voters should follow the instructions of the deputies directing traffic, she added.
Voters are asked to be aware that classes are in session during the day and that there is typically heavy traffic during the early morning and afternoon hours when students are arriving and leaving the school. Only park in designated areas, Shook said.