ASHE COUNTY — Election Day for North Carolina’s 2018 midterm elections was Tuesday, Nov. 6, and voters continued turning out to the polls at each of Ashe County’s 17 precincts, as they had been since early voting began in mid-October.
By noon on Election Day, West Jefferson precinct chief judge Henry Doss said the Ashe County Arts building had been busy all morning.
“This is the highest turnout I’ve seen during an off-season election in 10 years working the polls,” Doss said.
Around 2 p.m., Jefferson precinct chief judge Kathy Bower said turnout was good at the Jefferson Fire Department.
“We’ve had 434 that have voted, which is pretty good,” Bower said. “We know that this precinct had over 1,200 vote early, so when you think about 1,200 who already voted and then 400 who voted here, we’re at half of our voters — I think it’s about like what we would expect, and we’ve got several hours left.”
Bower said she expected between 800 and 1,000 to vote before the polls closed at 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.
Warrensville precinct chief judge Warren Miller said, “We have around 1,240 voters registered in this precinct, 429 of them voted early and 260 have voted here today, getting closer to 50 percent with several hours to go.”
Miller said the Warrensville precinct had seen steady turnout through 2 p.m.
“There’s only been one or two times for a couple minutes when there wasn’t anybody in here,” Miller said. “Everything’s going smooth.”
One-stop early voting ended Saturday, Nov. 3 for North Carolina’s 2018 midterm elections, with much higher early voter turnout than usual for a midterm election cycle, according to Ashe County Board of Elections Director John Shepherd.
According to Shepherd, 5,619 Ashe County voters submitted their ballots at the Ashe County Board of Elections Office during the 15-day early voting period. Including mail-ins, military and overseas absentee voting, the total Ashe County ballot count ahead of Election Day was 5,865 — a total turnout of more than 30 percent, much higher than most midterms after the early voting period, Shepherd said.
Shepherd said he did not know why early voter turnout was so high this midterm, but added that the other 70 percent of registered Ashe County voters who waited for Election Day would ultimately determine voter turnout figures.
“I don’t know how the higher turnout here is going to affect the precincts on Election Day,” Shepherd said. “We’ll know whether it’s really a higher turnout on Election Day based on the total number of voters.”
The 2014 midterm election saw more than 52 percent Ashe County voter participation, according to North Carolina State Board of Elections data.
For full Election Day coverage and live results, visit ashepostandtimes.com.