1,700 Votes So Far in Wake Primary

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As of the Wake County Board of Elections’ Tuesday meeting, more than 1,700 people have voted early or absentee for the May 8 primary.

Wake Elections Director Charie Poucher told the board that one of the surprises so far has been the number of unaffiliated voters choosing the nonpartisan ballot — meaning they’re not voting in the presidential or gubernatorial primary, but they are voting on the constitutional amendment that could ban gay marriage.

Postmark Problems
Poucher told board members her staff is receiving some absentee ballots in the mail without postmarks. Absentee ballots were required to be postmarked by April 13. She said the board received 115 ballots in the mail Monday, and 90 of those did not have a time stamp on them.

Poucher said she has had conversations with the post office about making sure absentee ballots are marked in the future. For the current election, Poucher said she is waiting on an opinion from the state Attorney General’s office about what to do.

“That postmark is extremely important,” Poucher said. She told board members that they may have to contact any voters who submitted absentee ballots without postmarks and ask when they sent them in.

Election Attention
C-Span is planning to come to Wake County to cover North Carolina’s Primary Election. Poucher said the television station known for its live congressional coverage wants to park a truck at a polling site in either North Raleigh or Cary to cover the election.

Poucher said C-Span plans to conduct exit polls wherever they set up. She said she’s working with the station to fund a site with a big parking lot so they can park their truck and conduct interviews at least 50 feet from the entrance to the polls.

A group of dignitaries from Africa will also be coming to Wake County for the election. Poucher told the board that it’s common for government workers from developing countries to come and watch how elections work.

Budget
The Wake elections board may have an easier time with this year’s county budget. Last year board members considered hiring lawyers to get more funding from the county.

Poucher gave an update to the board this week and said county staff drafting the 2013 budget gave the board “everything we wanted except early voting.”

She said the only exception is that the county’s budget staff approved 15 early voting sites for the 2012 General Election, not 30 as they had hoped. Wake also had 15 early voting sites during the 2008 General Election.

Wake County Commissioners will take up the budget next month and it must be approved by the start of the fiscal year on July 1.

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