A new Republican primary election for Columbus County Commissioner District 2 will take place as planned on June 23, with precautions in place to combat the potential spread of COVID-19.
The new election will be held the same day as the 11th Congressional District second primary in the western part of North Carolina.
“The safety of North Carolina’s voters and poll workers is our top priority heading into this year’s remaining elections,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “We are taking the necessary precautions to ensure voters can vote efficiently and safely, no matter which option they choose to cast a ballot.”
The State Board on April 7 unanimously ordered a new election in Columbus County Commissioner District 2. Audits by the county board of elections of the March 3 primary election results showed 10 voters received a ballot style with the District 2 contest on it on Election Day, but they were not eligible to vote in that district.
Contest results showed a margin of 4 votes between Mack Ward, the top vote-getter, and Chris Smith, the runner-up.
The same three candidates will be on the ballot for the new election: Ward, Smith, and W. Bernard White.
Voters in Columbus County Commissioner District 2 who are registered Republican, as well as unaffiliated voters in that district who voted a Republican ballot in the March 3 primary and unaffiliated voters in the district who did not vote in the March 3 primary, will be eligible to vote in the new election on June 23. Unaffiliated voters who voted a nonpartisan, Democratic, or Libertarian ballot in the March 3 primary are not eligible to participate in the new primary.
Eligible voters will find their sample ballot through the voter lookup tool here: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/.
Significant precautions will be taken to protect in-person voters and poll workers at early voting sites and Election Day precincts. They include:
- Masks available for all poll workers and voters who do not bring their own.
- Single-use pens for voters to mark their ballots and take with them.
- Enforced social distancing between all poll workers and voters.
- Hand sanitizer for voters and poll workers.
- Face shields and gloves for poll workers.
- Protective barriers between poll workers and voters at check-in tables.
- Special sanitation kits at each precinct to ensure poll worker protection and clean tables and voting booths throughout the voting process.
- Thorough cleaning of voting sites before and after the election.
Absentee by-mail voting
Because this is a new election, voters who requested an absentee ballot for the first election will not automatically receive a ballot for the new election. Eligible voters may request an absentee ballot through June 16, 2020.
To request a ballot, eligible voters should complete an absentee ballot request form and return it by mail or in-person to the Columbus County Board of Elections.
To learn more about how to vote by mail, go here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/dl.ncsbe.gov/Outreach/Absentee/Infosheet_howtoabsentee_FINAL%20(2).pdf.
In-person early voting
The early voting period for the June 23 second primary is June 4 to June 20.
Because this is a new election, eligible voters may register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day during the early voting period.
Election Day voting
Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on June 23.
COVID-19: For more information about the State Board’s response to the pandemic, please visit NCSBE.gov/Coronavirus and follow the State Board on social media.
Please also see the NCSBE’s “10 Facts About Voting in North Carolina During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”