2022 Primary: Early voting ends Saturday

Published 12:02 pm Friday, May 13, 2022

The early voting period for the 2022 primary ends Saturday, May 14 with primary day right around the corner on Tuesday, May 17. 

On Saturday, May 14, early voters can go to the one stop voting location at the Board of Elections office, 40 Courthouse St. in the Womack Administration Building in Columbus. The office will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Voters can see a sample ballot online at polknc.gov (search Departments drop-down menu for Board of Elections).

On primary day, May 17, polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. across the seven precincts in Polk County (listed below). The Womack Building is not a polling site.

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Primary Day Precincts in Polk County:
Coopers Gap: Sunnyview Elementary School (Gym), 86 Sunny View School Rd., Mill Spring
Columbus 1: Polk County High School,1681 NC-108, Columbus
Columbus 2: Isothermal Community College, 1255 W. Mills St., Columbus
Green Creek: Green Creek Fire and Rescue, 8645 NC Hwy. 9, Columbus
Saluda: Saluda Fire and Rescue, 199 Walnut St., Saluda
Tryon123: Harmon Field Log Cabin, 117 Harmon Field Rd., Tryon
White Oak: Mill Spring Fire and Rescue, 145 Old Rutherfordton Rd., Mill Spring


Some interesting statistics are emerging from early voting data as of May 12, according to Chris Cooper, professor of political science and public affairs at Western Carolina University. Statewide, approximately 370,000 ballots have been accepted. By congressional district, NC11, which includes Polk and the 16+ westernmost counties of the state, leads the way in overall ballots accepted (approximately 42,000) and Republican ballots accepted (approximately 25,000). Democrats in the 11th district have submitted approximately 17,000 ballots. 

Data on the Unaffiliated voter, now the largest bloc of voters in the district and state, show that they are pulling the Republican ballot overwhelmingly in the 11th.  District-wide, 72 percent of Unaffiliated voters are selecting the Republican ballot, Cooper says.

The Republican senate race and NC 11 congressional race have drawn district, state and national attention. 

The race to replace Senator Richard Burr is crowded, with 14 Republican challengers, 11 Democratic (including Tryon’s Chrelle Booker), and 7 Independent, Libertarian and Green Party challengers. The race is also notable for the amounts of money raised. Democrat Cheri Beasley has raked in $9.6 million, followed by Republicans Ted Budd with $4.5 million, former North Carolina governor Pat McCrory with $4.4 million and Mark Walker with $1.7 million. Budd has been endorsed by former President Trump.

The race to unseat incumbent Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn has grown increasingly contentious from within his own party. Attack ad mailers have dropped daily from Republican aligned PACs such as Results for NC, and salacious videos and photographs were shared by former Cawthorn donors and supporters to the American Muckrakers PAC which published them online. Additionally, a barrage of news of speeding tickets, airport weapons violations, court dates, ethics complaints regarding staff salaries, insider trading allegations by Senator Tillis, an employment-related complaint filed by an ex-staffer, and the reported closings of all district offices except Hendersonville, keep his name in the headlines.