Early voting for municipal elections now underway, Greenville’s postponed to March; Onslow County, minus Jacksonville, also moving ahead

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — “Municipal elections are our most interesting. We see them decided by one vote, we see ties, we see write-ins win,” said Dave Davis, the Pitt County Director of Elections.

Early voting starts on October 14th. Some may ask, does it really matter I get out early?

“Well, you don’t know what’s going to happen on Election Day,” said Davis.

Dave Davis is the Director of Elections for Pitt County. He says local elections like these can be just as important as any others.

“It’s really important, these are the folks that manage the government, your local government, and they’re accessible you’re going to see them in the grocery store, they’re your neighbor, so you can easily talk to them.”

Here in Pitt County, early voting will be open for every city except Greenville, the county’s seat. Davis says this is due to ongoing redistricting in town.

“We anticipate Greenville residents will show up wanting to vote and we will have to let them know, come back in a few more months,” said Davis.

But how has turnout looked in the past?

“Presidential election we will have some 70 something percent turn out and this election we will be lucky if we make 15 percent.”

Dave Davis, Dir. of Elections for Pitt County

Why is this you may ask?

“You have some, where they always have a solid turnout like Simpson and Winterville always have a solid turnout but then you have other municipalities where if there’s no opposition to any candidates running they’re like what’s the point and people stay home.”

Davis noting that although the voter registration deadline has passed, those looking to cast their ballots still have a chance during the early voting period.

You’ll have to show an official document with your current name and address and once you do that, they’ll get you registered in the system and you’ll vote right then and there,” said Davis.

He says they will require workers to wear masks but when it comes to voters, they cannot enforce any rule like that because they cannot block a voter’s right to cast their ballot. He also mentions for these elections, they have not received a single absentee ballot for Pitt County, making him wary of turnout.

Click here for a list of times and locations you can cast your ballot at.

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In Onslow County, you can also register to vote and get your ballot in before the crowds hit on Nov. 2 and early voting is also underway there.

People living inside the city limits of all of Onslow County’s towns can vote at the Onslow County Board of Elections in Jacksonville. Early voting allows people who missed the registration deadline for voting on Nov. 2 to come by, get registered and cast an early vote … all in one stop.

“Getting you registered and having you vote the same day is very easy, and that’s actually … early voting is often confused with one-stop voting, if you’re already registered, you’re early voting, if you’re not registered, you’re one-stop voting,” said Jason Dedmond, the director for the Onslow County Board of Elections.

Dedmond stressed the importance of municipal elections and said they are as important, if not more, than the elections for other offices.

“I would say local elections are just as important as a national election because if you live in one of the municipalities, these are the people that are setting your property taxes,” Dedmond said.

Jacksonville has pushed back its municipal election date due to redistricting of its wards. The city’s municipal elections will be held on March 8 with early voting starting in February.

“The city of Jacksonville has a ward system, they needed information from the census, and the census was delayed,” Dedmond said. “It should have been done earlier than it was, but due to COVID, it wasn’t.”

Early voting in Onslow County runs through Oct. 30. You can vote at the Onslow County Board of Elections from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

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