Long lines, hand sanitizer and enthusiasm at polls

Hallsboro saw lines stretching to the other end of the fire station at times Tuesday morning. (Jefferson Weaver photo)
Hallsboro saw lines stretching to the other end of the fire station at times Tuesday morning. (Jefferson Weaver photo)

Today is Election Day in what may be one of the busiest political seasons in history. 

Most of the reports so far today show voting is going smoothly but slowly across Columbus County, although there have been some problems reported by voters at Hallsboro and elsewhere. 

Crystal Parker Williamson said she and her family were told they would have to use provisional ballots at Hallsboro, although they have voted at the fire station since 1996.

“We have been voting there since 1996 and was told I was ineligible to vote today,” Williamson wrote in a Facebook post. “I was asked to cast a ‘provisional’ ballot, as were others in front of me. They were gonna do it, but I raised a little h— up in there and miraculously they found all three of our ballots. Now I am just wondering how many that happened to that passively accepted their ‘provisional’ ballot.”

Provisional ballots are cast when there is a question about a voter’s registration status. They must be reviewed and counted by hand on Canvass Day after the election.

Other polling places were moving but slow but smooth, due to turnout and the need for sanitizing and social distancing due to the pandemic.

“I voted this morning,” Ashley Ward said. “It took almost an hour from standing in line to actually voting due to many people in line. Staff was nice and kept the line moving. They were cleaning between voters and offered mask, gloves and sanitizer for anyone.”

Mike Hinson voted early, and said  “everyone was very polite.”

“I voted in Old Dock this morning,” Amanda Packer said.  “There was a little bit of a wait but that’s not a bad thing. Everything ran smoothly on the inside.”

Tabor precinct has been busy throughout early voting, but on Election Day poll workers outnumbered voters.
Tabor precinct has been busy throughout early voting, but on Election Day poll workers outnumbered voters. (courtesy photo)

Julie Formy-Duval said she voted at the North Whiteville Fire Department shortly after 10 a.m. with no wait. “Everyone was friendly. It was a pleasant experience. Thank you to all the poll workers!”

“The West Whiteville (precinct) had courteous workers and smooth voting,” Daphne Eason Burris said.

“I was Number 56 this morning at North Whiteville and all went well,” Jennifer Holcomb said.

“ (At the) Nakina VFW post all went well,”  Hollie Sasser said. “(Everything was) sanitized after each use

Early voters made a major impact on turnout this time, as people sought to avoid delays, crowds and the pandemic.

“I voted in Chadbourn last Thursday evening and the poll workers were doing a great job,” said Rebecca Briggs Cance. “Thank you all who do what you can to ensure the integrity of our elections.”

Barbara Benton voted at Roseland. She said “Everything went well. Small wait.”

Turnout has been big at Lake Waccamaw, where on premises beer, wine and liquor by the drink measures are also on the ticket.  More than 120 voters had cast ballots there by 10 a.m.

“We are staying very steady,” said Mike Fishburn, chief judge for the Lake polling station. “Everyone is eager to vote.”

More than half the county’s registered voters have already cast a ballot. A total 18,149 ballots were in the box by the end of early voting Saturday.

Tabor City has seen a steady flow of voters since the start of early voting, and on Tuesday morning, voters remarked how at times there were more pollworkers than voters.

County Elections Board Supervisor Carla Strickland said that the state Board of Elections expects 97 percent of North Carolina’s ballots will be counted on Election night. Results will begin being posted at 7:30 on the state BOE website. Ballots that are postmarked by 5 p.m. today day will be accepted and counted until Nov. 12.

Polls close at 7:30 p.m.

WTXY and Columbuscountynews.com will be bringing you election results and reactions from the BOE office starting at 7:30 tonight. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter, as well as tuning in at 103.9 or on the TuneIn Radio app.

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About Jefferson Weaver 1326 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the managing editor of columbuscountynews.com and news director for WTXY radio. He can be reached at 910.632.4965, or by email at jeffersonweaver@columbuscountynews.com.