Ocracoke’s polling place is the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department.

Correction: “Same day” registration and early voting in North Carolina continues only until Oct. 31. Voters cannot register and vote on General Election Day Nov. 3, as erroneously stated in the original publication of this story.

Observer staff report

Interest in early voting in North Carolina is making historic state records.

On Ocracoke, early voting is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow and Friday (Oct. 22 and 23) in the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department, 822 Irvin Garrish Hwy.

Even though the regular voter registration deadline ended on Oct. 9, islanders who have not registered to vote have two options to still do so. With the “same-day, one-stop” voting option, they may register on Ocracoke during these two early voting days; they also can travel to the Elections Office at 1223 Main St., Swan Quarter, until Oct. 31.

The early voting schedule at the Elections Office is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31.

Same-day registrants must attest to their eligibility and provide proof of residence and have one of the following documents to register:

  • A North Carolina driver’s license
  • Photo ID from a government agency
  • Student photo ID with a school document showing the student’s address
  • Or a utility bill, bank statement, payroll stub or document from any government agency with your name and current address.

Within two business days, the county board of elections will review the registration and the registrant’s address. The registrant’s vote will be counted unless the Hyde County board of elections determines that you are not qualified to vote.

As of today (Oct. 21), of the 7.3 million of North Carolina’s registered voters, 1.59 million ballots have already been cast. This represent slightly more than 25% with two weeks to go until the General Election.

Debbie Leonard, Michael Shoemaker and Sundae Horn sign up new voters. Photo: C. Leinbach

As of this month, Ocracoke has 821 registered voters, which may increase with same-day registrants.

During a voter registration drive held by the Ocracoke Community Library in September, 13 islanders became new voters, said Sundae Horn, library manager.

With the exception of Ocracoke, state-wide early voting runs from Oct. 15 and ends at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31.

Hyde County Elections Director Viola Williams said 82 votes were cast on the first day in her office.

“That was extremely busy for us,” she said.

Hyde County has a total of 3,149 registered voters, and, as of Monday, 222 votes have been cast at the office and 316 absentee ballots have been requested, she said. 

Due to safety concerns relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, voting on Ocracoke will be in the open fire truck bays to allow for social distancing. Although those wishing to vote without a mask will not be refused, the Elections Office encourages all to wear a mask and maintain social distancing practices when voting. Poll workers will be wearing masks and taking extra safety precautions.

Hyde residents may still request absentee ballots (voting by mail) from now until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27. However, the ballots also must be received by this time and date.

The absentee request form can be emailed, faxed, mailed or returned in person to the Board of Elections.

If you are mailing your request, please include enough time for your request to be received by the deadline. You can download the absentee ballot request form on the Hyde County Election Board website here.

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