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Absentee ballots pour in; one-stop voting starts Thursday

John Bates works on a voting machine as he and other elections workers set up the one-stop voting site at Flat Rock Village Hall, one of four early voting sites in the county. John Bates works on a voting machine as he and other elections workers set up the one-stop voting site at Flat Rock Village Hall, one of four early voting sites in the county.

When one-stop voting gets under way Thursday, Henderson County elections workers will enforce social distancing and face mask requirements, clean voting clean machines after every use and police misconduct by elections observers, the county elections director told the Elections Board on Tuesday.

Karen Hebb outlined the voting procedures, security plans and Covid-related safety measures the county has instituted for one-stop voting, which begins at four sites around the county at 8 a.m. Thursday and runs through Saturday, Oct. 31.

"All observers are required to wear masks, just like our workers," Hebb said. "If they refuse to social distance they'll be asked to leave. ... We are doing everything that's required and then some."

Election observers must be designated in advance by the party chair. The election observers are barred from interfering with voters or disrupting the polling place. The chief judge of each polling place is in responsible for maintaining order and may call police or sheriff's deputies if someone tries to obstruct or interfere with people trying to register or vote, according to a fact sheet N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein issued Wednesday.

Like counties across the state, Henderson County has seen a surge in mail-in absentee ballots. As of Tuesday morning, 17,242 voters had requested absentee ballots and 9,995 had been received, according to state elections figures. Statewide, 493,825 people had voted absentee, more than 10 times the number of absentee votes cast at the same point of the 2016 election, when 47,214 people had voted as of Oct. 13.

FACT SHEET Election Observers and Voter IntimidationN.C. Attorney General Josh Stein released a fact sheet on Election Observers and Voter IntimidationStatewide, Democrats are turning out at a much higher rate than Republicans. Although they make up 36 percent of the electorate, registered Democrats account for 51 percent of the absentee ballots cast so far. Republicans, who make up 30 percent of the total registered voters, account for 18 percent of absentee ballots, the state Elections Board said. Thirty-one percent of absentee votes came from unaffiliated voters. The numbers show that 9.7 percent of registered Democrats have turned out so far by voting absentee, compared to 4 percent of Republicans and 6.25 percent of unaffiliated voters.

On Tuesday, the five-member Henderson County Board of Elections verified the outside of envelopes of absentee ballots that the elections office had received, checking for signatures of the voter and a witness as required by law. Absentee ballots may be returned by mail, in person at the Board of Elections, 75 East Central St., or at one of the early voting sites, though anyone returning an absentee ballot must wait in line along with people there to vote.

Here are the locations, dates and hours for one-stop voting:


Board of Elections Office
75 E. Central St
Hendersonville

Etowah Library
101 Brickyard Rd
Etowah


Flat Rock Village Hall
110 Village Center Dr
Flat Rock

Fletcher Town Hall
300 Old Cane Creek Rd
Fletcher

Dates and times:

  • Thursday, Oct. 15, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 16, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 17, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 19, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 20, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 21, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 22, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 23, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 24, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 26, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 27, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 28 , 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 29, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 30, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 31, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.