ALBEMARLE — Despite a shortage of poll workers throughout the country, Stanly County’s voting precincts are fully staffed and ready for Nov. 3.
“We do have enough workers and we actually have a few standby workers and emergency workers for last-minute vacancies,” Stanly County Board of Elections Director Kim Blackwelder told SCJ on Sept. 22. “We’re in good shape right now, but if people are interested in working, they can always apply and we will put them on our list. We can put them through if people back out or can’t make it at the last minute.”
Due to fears of contracting COVID-19 at polling precincts, concerned voters have turned to mail-in ballots more than ever before, and Stanly County is no exception.
The Stanly County Board of Elections has continued to stay busy handling absentee-by-mail ballots during this election cycle. In fact, the board has mailed out three-times more ballots than it mailed in 2016.
“As of today, we’ve sent 3,175 ballots,” Blackwelder said. “In the last presidential election, we mailed out between 900 and 1,000 ballots.”
In North Carolina, the deadline for voter registration is Oct. 9, and the deadline for requesting a ballot by mail is Oct. 27. Absentee ballots delivered to the Board of Elections must be received by 5 p.m. on Election Day; the ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day if they are sent by mail.
Registered voters can request a ballot by going online and accessing the Absentee Ballot Request Portal. The second option for voters is to fill out a North Carolina Absentee Ballot Request Form and return it to the Stanly County Board of Elections at 1000 North First St. Suite 16 in Albemarle.
Once completed ballots are sent in, their status can be tracked with the N.C. Board of Election’s new BallotTrax online portal.
For voters who still want to vote in-person, the Stanly election board is promising to do all it can to provide safety precautions on Nov. 3. Both hand sanitizer and masks will be provided to any and all voters who want them before entering the voting booths.
“We’ll have the plexiglass shields up in front of the different stations where the voter interacts with the precinct official,” Blackwelder said. “Everything will be distanced and we have plastic file folders for the secrecy folders for the ballots that will be cleaned in between each voter. We’re doing different things to ensure that everybody stays safe.”
Early voting for Stanly County will take place at four different polling sites: the Locust Town Center, Joel Honeycutt Room at 186 Ray Kennedy Dr.; the New London Community Building, at 114 West Gold St.; the Norwood Community Building, at 247 West Turner St.; and the Stanly County Board of Elections office.
The available hours for early voting are 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 15 to Oct. 17, Oct. 19 to Oct. 24, and Oct. 26 to Oct. 30. For the final day of early voting, Oct. 31, available hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.