Early voting for primary starts March 3

By: By Chrysta Carroll - ccarroll@civitasmedia.com

ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen County voters wishing to participate in early voting for the Tuesday, March 15, primary election may do so beginning March 3 at various locations throughout the county.

Early voting, also called pre-poll voting or advance polling, is an effort to increase voter participation in elections and relieve congestion at polling stations on election day. In North Carolina, it has previously taken place in May but has been moved to March this year.

“Of course, a lot of people take advantage of early voting,” said Cynthia Shaw, director of the Bladen County Board of Elections. “It cuts down on Election Day traffic. We now have more people that vote early or use absentee ballots than we have traffic on election day. It gives voters a window of time to vote.

“Between early voting, absentee ballots, and election day, there’s really no reason why anyone can’t vote,” she added.

Early voting is taken advantage of by all kinds of people. It is especially helpful to those people who cannot make it to the polls on Election Day, including poll workers and campaign promotors who are working on election day.

Any resident wishing to take advantage of early voting can do so at one of the following locations:

— Elizabethtown: Bladen County Public Library at 111 N. Cypress St.

— Bladenboro: Bladenboro Historical Society at 818 Main St.

— Dublin: Lion’s Club at 120 Second St.

— East Arcadia: East Arcadia Town Hall at 1516 East Arcadia Road, Riegelwood

The following are the hours for the voting centers listed above:

— Thursday, March 3, and Friday, March 4, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

— Saturday, March 5, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. (however, the Bladen County Public Library voting center will open at 8:30 a.m.)

— Monday, March 7, through Wednesday, March 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

— Thursday, March 10, and Friday, March 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

—Saturday, March 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Voters who are not yet resigstered to vote must register on or before Friday, Feb. 19. Anyone wishing to find out more information can go to the Bladen County website and pull up the Board of Elections under the “Departments” tab or contact the Bladen County Board of Elections office at 910-862-6951.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

By Chrysta Carroll