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October 1, 2012

Time running out to register to vote

TARBORO — If you have not registered to vote or if you are a registered inactive voter, the Edgecombe County Board of Elections is urging you to contact its office before 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12.

The Board of Elections is gearing up for the Nov. 6 General Election. The General Elections, which which is also a presidential election this year, are usually the ones requiring the most preparation and work because of the spike in voter turnout. Participations is usually more than double during presidential elections when compared to others. In the recent May primary, 31 percent of Edgecombe County voters filled out ballots, compared to 66 percent in the 2008 presidential election.

And while Oct. 12 is the deadline to register to vote, voters can register the day of the election and vote.

Non-profit organizations are scrambling to search every crack and crevice of the county to find non-registered voters to encourage them to vote and it appears to be working. So far 1,341 new voters have registered since May 18. Of that number, 941 registered as Democrats, 162 Republicans, 215 unaffiliated, and three Libertarians. Democrats in Edgecombe County by far outnumber the all others combined. As of Monday, there were 28,465 Democrats, 6,048 Republicans, 3,786 unaffiliated, and 34 Libertarian.

The new figures bring the total of Edgecombe registered vote total to 38,333 and, although there has been a spike in voter registrations, the total decreased by 83. Board of Elections Director Jerry Spruell said the decrease can be related to deaths, citizens moving from Edgecombe County and citizens who were convicted of felony crimes.

However, this years' registered voters tally will likely eclipse the 2008 total by a substantial amount. On Tuesday, Spruell reported that his office was processing 500 new voter registration cards and is expecting more.

"We have a substantial workload and it could increase before the deadline," he said.

Spruell has also contacted 2,692 inactive voters by mail to suggest they come to the office and update their card to alleviate potential problems on election day. Voters who have moved and have not changed their addresses on their voter registration cards are listed as inactive voters, he explained.

He also explained that felons who have completed their sentence and parole and do not have pending felonies can register. The clarification of the felon voting law could increase the BOE workload.

After the BOE completes voter registration, it will prepare for the early voting period that begins Oct. 18.  

 

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