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Early voting for primary begins Thursday

Choices will be done by paper ballot

COLUMBUS — Early voting for the May 8 primary in Polk County will begin Thursday, with the voting being done by paper ballot.

Polk County residents will be deciding a district attorney during the primary, since there are no Democrat challengers for the November election, as well as narrowing the Polk County Sheriff race to one Democrat and one Republican.

The state is requiring all voting go to paper ballots, so Polk will test the equipment during early voting only this year.

Early voting ends on Saturday, May 5.

Polk County Elections Director Cliff Marr said the county will be testing the paper ballot system it is considering purchasing in early-mid 2019.

“Testing the equipment in one election is a requirement as part of the purchasing process,” said Marr. “The machine under consideration is a DS-200 optical scanner from ES&S.”

Marr also said Polk is required by state statute to begin using a paper ballot system by the 2019 municipal election.

Polk will not be using paper ballots on primary day, May 8, or in the November general election in either early voting or on Election Day.

Early voting can only be done in the Polk County Board of Election office in Columbus.

Early voting hours include from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, and Saturday, April 28, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the last day of early voting, Saturday, May 5.

The primary will only have the Polk County Sheriff race locally, with B.J. Bayne and Ronnie Smith on the Democrat ballot and Darryl Bailey and Tim Wright on the Republican ticket.

Other primary races include the North Carolina Senate District 47 Democrat candidates Christopher H. Rumfelt, Cheryl D. Swofford or David Wheeler, Republican candidates for United States House of Representatives District 10, Jeff Gregory, Patrick McHenry, Ira Roberts, Albert Lee Wiley Jr., Seth Blankenship and Gina Collias; and District Attorney for District 42 candidates Mary Ann J. Hollocker and Greg Newman.

During the May 8 primary, all voters registered with a party must vote on that party’s ballot. Persons registered as Unaffiliated may choose either the Democrat or Republican ballot during the primary. Registered Libertarians do not have a contest during the 2018 primary, so they will not be able to cast a vote. 

The Polk County Board of Elections is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located on the second floor of the Womack building, 40 Courthouse St., Columbus. The office can be reached at 828-894-8181 or polknc.org/board_of_elections_2.php, where sample ballots can be found.

The primary election will be held on Tuesday, May 8, in all Polk County’s precincts.

The 2018 general election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6.