MURPHY, N.C. – At their monthly meeting Wednesday, March 7, the Board of Elections discussed a number of items in preparation for the May 8 primary election in Cherokee County.
Director of Elections Leighsa Jones presented the board with the option of moving the polling center in the Marble precinct from the Marble Community Center to the Marble campus of Tri-County Community College (TCCC). Jones explained that to use the TCCC location, the Board of Elections would need to submit an application to the college, and typically, the college charges an event rental fee for use of the facility. However, Jones added those fees would likely be waived by the college. To this, board Chairman Eddie Adams stated by law, the college must waive any fees.
After board member Gary Kilpatrick inquired of the number of anticipated voters for May primary in the Marble precinct, Jones stated the presidential general election of 2016 saw around 500 voters, and she expected between 350 to 400 for the upcoming primary.
“I need to get (the application) submitted … as soon as possible because we do have to make any changes at least 45 days prior (to the primary) because we have to notify each voter in writing if we’re going to do that,” Jones explained.
The board approved the application and for Jones to submit the application to Judy Owenby, assistant to the president of TCCC.
Testing and training was also discussed during the meeting. Jones stated the Board of Elections office was still waiting to receive ballot proofs from the state to approve. After this, she said the office could begin coding and testing machines.
“We have to be partially, if not fully, tested before we start training because got to have some machines that are set up and ready for training,” Jones said, adding the mock election is April 5.
The board tentatively set six training days for its precinct officials: April 2 through 5 and April 16 and 17.
Also discussed and approved were the number of officials for each precinct at five. Jones told the board she felt the primary, on the county level, will likely be heavier in turn out during the primary election rather than the November general. “What you can figure is most of the elections will be decided in the primary,” Jones said but stated she was still comfortable with five officials at each precinct.
Hours for early voting were also approved and set by the board for 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Early voting begins Thursday, April 19, and ends Saturday, May 5, at the Board of Elections office in the courthouse annex at 40 Peachtree Street in Murphy.
Also, Jones informed the board there are currently two petitions in the works for Steve Coleman and Allen Denny to be added to the general election ballot for the at-large post on the Board of Education. According to Jones, the prospective candidates must receive 4 percent of registered voters countywide, which equates to approximately 1,000 voters, to be added to the ballot. The deadline for the petitions, Jones said, was the day of the primary election (May 8).
Coleman and Denny would join Democrat incumbent Tim Coffey and Republican candidates Tylor Dockery and Keesha Curtis on the general election ballot for the at-large school board seat.
Voter registration deadlines for the May primary and the November general elections are April 13 and October 12, respectively.
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