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Absentee ballots in Polk

Board of Elections has received 2,873 requests

COLUMBUS—Polk County has seen more than 5 times its normal requests for absentee ballots this year. 

The county normally sends out a total of 500 absentee ballots for a presidential election and so far has had 2,873 requests this year. 

Of the requests so far, 1,153 have been from Unaffiliated voters; 1,137 have been from Democrat voters, 572 have been from Republican voters, 7 from Libertarian voters, 1 from Constitution voters and 3 from Green Party voters, according to the Polk County Board of Elections. 

Polk County Election Director Cliff Marr said on Thursday that 1,280 of those ballots have been returned so far. 

Of the returned ballots, 549 have been democrat, 522 unaffiliated, 205 republican, 6 libertarian, 1 constitution and 2 green party, according to Marr. 

The state was allowed to send out its first absentee ballots on Sept. 4, with the Polk County Board of Elections only mailing ballots to voters who requested them. 

In past presidential elections, Polk County has sent out about 100 requests on the first mailing and about 500 requests total. 

People can still request absentee ballots. 

Upon receiving absentee ballots, the county board of elections staff reviews each container-return envelope for completeness, according to the state board of elections. 

Beginning 5 weeks prior to the election, election boards in North Carolina can meet weekly, where the approved ballots are inserted into a voting machine. The actual results of the absentee ballots are not tabulated or reported until Election Day, according to the state board of elections. 

Early voting will be from Oct. 15-31 and can be done at the Polk County Board of Elections Office, located on the 2nd floor of the Womack building in Columbus. Early voting can be done on weekdays from 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. and on Saturday, Oct. 17 and Oct. 24 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. The last day of early voting will be Saturday, Oct. 31 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. 

People can register to vote while early voting, but not on Election Day. 

The last day to register to vote for Election Day is next Friday, Oct. 9. 

Election Day will be Tuesday, Nov. 3, when registered voters can vote at their polling places from 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

For more information about this year’s election or to request an absentee ballot, visit polknc.org or call the election office at 828-894-8181.