Early voting hours set, mail-in ballots available for 2016 election in New Hanover County

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A sign outside the New Hanover County Board of Elections indicated the first day of one stop absentee voting for the 2016 primary election. (File photo by Hannah Leyva.)
A sign outside the New Hanover County Board of Elections indicated the first day of one stop absentee voting for the 2016 primary election. Photo by Hannah Leyva.

Final preparations for the November Presidential Election are underway in North Carolina.

Absentee by mail ballots became available across the state on Sept. 9, and the dates and hours for one-stop absentee voting in New Hanover County have been finalized and approved.

The plan submitted by the New Hanover County Board of Elections and finalized by the state board set a schedule for 600 total early voting hours starting on Thursday, Oct. 20 and ending on Saturday, Nov. 5. Each of the five poll sites – the New Hanover County Government Center, the Cape Fear Community College Health Sciences building, the Northeast Regional Library, the Senior Resource Center and Carolina Beach Town Hall, will be open for 120 hours each over that time period.

The biggest change from the early voting period during the March primary election is the elimination of Sunday voting hours, which were available at the Government Center location. That decision, which many say disproportionately negatively affects minority voters, angered many residents who attended the county board of elections meeting last month.

The deadline to register to vote in the general election is Friday, Oct. 14, at 5 p.m. People can fill out a registration form at the Board of Elections office, located at 230 Government Drive, Suite 38. Forms are available online or at several locations around the county, including county libraries, public high schools, college admissions offices, Department of Motor Vehicles offices, disability services agencies, public assistance agencies and the Employment Security Commission.

Once registration is complete, voters can apply for absentee mail-in ballots, cast ballots during the one-stop absentee voting period or at their precinct polling place on election day, which is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Early voting hours for all five locations in New Hanover County are as follows:

Thursday, Oct. 20 through Wednesday, Nov. 2 (except Sundays), from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 3 and Friday, Nov. 4, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 5, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Contact the New Hanover County Board of Elections at (910) 798-7330 with any questions.