October 27, 2010

Voters' Guide and one-stop voting ends today on Hatteras


The Dare and Hyde County Boards of Elections will operate one-stop absentee voting sites for the Tuesday, Nov. 2, General Election, beginning on Oct. 14 and ending on Oct. 30. Though the deadline for registering at the Board of Elections passed on Friday, Oct. 8, you can still register to vote at all one-stop sites.

The last day for one-stop voting on Hatteras Island is Friday, Oct. 29, from 10 a.m.

The polls will be open on election day from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Any person in line at 7:30 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

In this “off-year” election, Hyde and Dare countians will be voting for a U.S. senator, a U.S. representative, state senator, state representative, and other statewide and local offices.

Also on the ballot are candidates for the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and a different method, called Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), will be used for the first time to choose the winners.

Melva Garrison, director of Dare County’s Board of Elections, said the purpose of the state law establishing IRV is to avoid a runoff if no candidate receives a majority – 50 percent of the vote. A second primary can be avoided through IRV and save the state money.

Garrison says IRV has been used in pilot programs in other counties.  It’s confusing in the beginning, she says, but seems to work well.

And, finally, North Carolinians will vote on a constitutional amendment – a ban that would prohibit convicted felons from serving as sheriffs.

Early voting sites in Dare and Hyde counties include:


Board of Elections Office, 954 Marshall Collins Dr., Manteo.  Hours are from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday from Oct. 14 through Oct. 29 and 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30.
The Baum Center, 300 Mustian St., Kill Devil Hills.  Hours are from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, Oct. 14-29.
The Fessenden Center, 46830 Highway 12, Buxton. Hours are 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, Oct. 14-29


Board of Elections office, 30 Oyster Creek Road, Swan Quarter.  Hours are 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday from Oct. 14-Oct. 29. And 9 a.m. until 1 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30.
Community Center, Highway 12, Ocracoke.  Saturday, Oct. 23, only.  Hours are from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.

All registered voters in Dare and Hyde counties are eligible to vote in absentee no-excuse, one-stop voting.

“Absentee-voter Registration” is available at all one-stop sites. But registration is not allowed on Election Day.

In Dare County, there is only one contested race for county commissioner. Incumbent Republican Jack Shea is running against newcomer Democrat Robin Mann.

There is also only one contested race for commissioner in Hyde County.  On the mainland, Ken Collier is running against Barry Swindell.  Both are unaffiliated.

On Ocracoke, Darlene Styron, who was appointed to fill Eugene Ballance’s seat on the commission when he resigned earlier this year, is running unopposed to fill the seat until the term expires in 2012.

Dare County voters should remember that the liquor by the drink referendum for the southern Hatteras Township villages of Buxton, Frisco, and Hatteras, is not scheduled on the Nov. 2 General Election Day.

That referendum will be Tuesday, Dec. 7. Early voting will be allowed and a schedule will be announced later.


This method of voting combines the Primary and Election Day into one election. Voters select their first choice for IRV contests like every other contest on the ballot, but they also rank their second or third choices in the event the initial results do not produce a majority winner who received more than 50 percent of the votes cast.

N. C. General Statute 163-329 directs the State Board of Elections to conduct Instant Runoff Voting if a vacancy is created in the appellate judicial offices under certain conditions. Retirement by three Superior Court judges in Buncombe, Cumberland, and Rowan counties created vacancies which activated the IRV provisions of this statute for those counties. In August, the resignation by Judge James A. Wynn, Jr. from the N.C. Court of Appeals to accept an appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit occurred during the prescribed timeframe for IRV to be used as the voting method for this statewide contest.

In IRV elections, voters select their first choice for an office as they have done in previous elections. Additionally, voters may select their second and third choices. The voters’ first choices are tallied and are reported unofficially on election night. If a candidate gets enough first choice votes to win, more than 50 percent of votes cast, she or he is certified as the winner at Canvass and no further counting is necessary.

If no candidate receives enough first choice votes to reach the majority threshold (more than 50 percent), the top two candidates move to the instant runoff. The winner is determined by adding the highest ranked second or third choice vote to his or her initial vote totals. The candidate with the most votes in the second round wins the election. If a voter’s first choice candidate is not in the runoff, a second choice vote for either of the two runoff candidates will be counted. Third choice votes for either runoff candidate will be counted only if the voter’s first or second choice candidate is not in the runoff. After all counting is concluded, the candidate with the most first and second round total votes wins the election.

Sounds confusing, but just remember that on the back of the Nov. 2 ballot, you will see three rows of 13 candidates each.  All rows list the same 13 names. You can vote for one – or the same one – in each row.

And since we sometimes know nothing about Court of Appeals judge candidates, the North Carolina Board of Election has published a very nice booklet with background on each candidate. You might have received one of the blue booklets, “2010 General Election Judicial Voter Guide for the NC Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.”  If you didn’t get one, you can see it online. The booklet also has lots of information about voting and voting laws in the state.


When North Carolina voters go to the polls on Nov. 2, they will find more than
candidates’ names on their ballots. They also will be voting on a constitutional amendment that could affect the names on future ballots.

The 2010 General Assembly approved a measure (Session Law 2010-49) that would ban convicted felons from serving as sheriffs in North Carolina.

The proposed amendment to Article VII, Section 2 of the North Carolina Constitution would add
language stating that individuals convicted of a felony in North Carolina or any other state would be ineligible to serve as a sheriff in North Carolina whether or not his or her rights of citizenship have been restored.

To see a sample ballot for the Nov. 2 General Election, click here

To read the state Board of Election’s “Judicial Voter Guide,” click here


For more information, please contact the Dare County Board of Elections at 252-475-5630 or visit http://www.co.dare.nc.us/depts/BOE/index.asp or The Hyde County Board of Elections at 252-926-4124 or http://www.hydecounty.org/government/elections.asp

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