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Early voting for special election for the late Walter Jones’ seat on Thursday

The Ocracoke voting Thursday and April 30 location is at the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department on Irvin Garrish Hwy.

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By Peter Vankevich

One-stop early voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday in the Ocracoke Fire Department,  822 Irvin Garrish Hwy preceding the special April 30 primary to fill the remaining term of the late Rep. Walter Jones in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes Ocracoke.

All persons who are registered unaffiliated or with the Democratic, Libertarian or Republican parties and who are registered to vote with the Hyde County Board of Elections may vote in this election.

One-stop early voting gives the opportunity for registered voters to vote early and also allows non-registered voters to register and vote the  same day. Islanders may vote on Thursday or wait until April 30. Islanders may also vote early until Friday, April 26, on the mainland in the Hyde County Board of Elections office, 1223 Main Street, Swan Quarter, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Those wishing to register will be required to provide documentation of their residence.

Twenty-six candidates are vying for the chance to represent 17 counties of the eastern North Carolina in Washington, D.C., which Jones held from 1995 until his death on Feb. 10. 

The ballot includes 17 Republicans, six Democrats, two Libertarians and one Constitution Party candidate.  If the winners for each party do not receive 30 percent of the vote, a primary runoff will be  needed  and a runoff between the top two finishers it will be held July 9. The general election will then be pushed to Sept. 10.

Here are the candidates and their party affiliations:

Constitution: Greg Holt

Democrat: Richard Bew, Ike Johnson, Gregory Humphrey Dana E. Outlaw,  Ernest T. Reeves and Allen Thomas

Libertarian: Shannon W. Bray, Tim Harris

Republican: Kevin Baiko, Paul Beaumont, Graham Boyd, Celeste Cairns, Gary Ceres, Chimer Davis Clark Jr., Don Cox, Francis X. De Luca, Phil Law,  Jeff Moore, Greg Murphy, Michele Nix, Mike Payment, Joan Perry, Eric Rouse, Phil Shepard and Michael Speciale.

The candidates have set up websites and Face Book pages.  Ballotpedia and the North Carolina Board of Elections have compiled the list of candidates, which will be updated.

So far, just one candidate, Richard Bew, visited Ocracoke and met with voters on Saturday, March 16. As of this month, Ocracoke has 747 registered voters: 378 Democrats, 7 Libertarians, 99 Republican and 263 unaffiliated.

Here’s a breakdown of voting opportunities and deadlines provided by the Hyde County Board of Elections.

Absentee voting by mail is available. Requests for an absentee ballot must be made on an absentee request form (available on the State Board of Elections website and at the county board of elections office) and must have been received in the Hyde County Board of Elections office by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23.

Absentee voting requires the voter to complete an application on the return envelope that must be witnessed by two qualified persons or a notary public. Completed absentee ballots must be returned to the Hyde County Board of Elections by 5 p.m. on Election Day (ballots received by mail after this time will be timely if received within three business days and postmarked by Election Day).

Voters may receive assistance voting a mail-in absentee ballot from a qualified person of their choice. If the voter lives in a facility such as a nursing home, and the voter’s nearest relative or legal guardian is not available, the voter or the facility can arrange to have the county board of elections schedule a visit by a multi-partisan assistance team to provide assistance and witnesses.

Voters voting in person are entitled to assistance by an election official, or, if assistance is needed due to disability or illiteracy, by a qualified person of their choice. Voting sites are accessible to all voters. Curbside voting is available for voters who are not able to enter voting sites.

All persons who are registered unaffiliated or with the Democratic, Libertarian or Republican parties and who are registered to vote with the Hyde County Board of Elections may vote in this election.

The deadline for those who are not already registered to vote in the county must register by Friday, April 5, to be eligible to vote in this election.

Voters who wish to change party affiliation or who have changed name or address must have done so by the registration deadline of April 5.

Voters who fail to timely make a change in name or address in the county must update the information when presenting to vote and may be required to vote a provisional ballot.

Canvass (sanctioning of the voter rolls) will be held in the Hyde County Board of Elections office at 11 a.m., Friday, May 10.

Persons with questions about registration, polling places, early voting, absentee ballots, a Multipartisan Assistance Team visit to a facility or other election matters may call the Hyde County Board of Elections Office at 252-926-4194.

Here are the sample ballots:

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