LAURINBURG — The 2017 elections are underway in Scotland County with absentee by mail ballots now being accepted until Oct. 31.
The absentee process began on Oct. 6.
Ballots must be received in person by 5 p.m. on Nov. 6 to the Scotland County Board of Elections or postmarked by 5 p.m. Nov. 7. The mailed ballots should be received by 5 p.m. Nov. 10, according to officials.
One-Stop Early Voting will begin next Thursday and remain open until Nov. 4. Voters will be able to cast ballots between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Saturday, Nov. 4, early voting will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Early voting will take place in the Board of Elections Conference Room at the County Annex Building at 231 East Cronly Street.
On Election Day — Nov. 7 — polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. This year’s ballot will feature elections in five different municipalities and 8 separate races.
In the last municipal elections in 2015, about 22 percent of 10,700 registered voters went to the polls.
Dell Parker, Scotland County Board of Elections director, said interest in the Laurinburg City Council races may attract more voters.
“I’m hoping the turnout will be larger this year,” Parker said. “It is not something that I can guarantee because just because a race is contested does not mean voter are going to come out.”
Contested seats include Laurinburg City Council’s District 1, District 2, and the at-large district. Maxton’s Board of Commissioners has a contested race.
The elections in East Laurinburg, Wagram, an Gibson are all uncontested.
Parker said voters should research about the candidates before coming to the polls to save time, however, her office cannot help people when it comes to picking a preferred candidate.
“I would look up the candidates and make up my mind before coming to vote,” Parker said. “I would encourage people to read the newspaper, listen to the local radio station, talk to their neighbors, and if they are not sure they can even go online and do some research on each of the candidates.”
There will be no photo I.D. requirement during this election and same day voter registration will be available during early voting.
Election officials will meet today at 3 p.m to perform logic and accuracy testing on all voting equipment to be used in the 2017 Municipal Elections.
Following the election, the BOE will have a provisional and absentee ballot meeting on Nov. 14 at 11 a.m. and a canvass meeting on Nov. 17 at 11 a.m.
For information on the election, call the Scotland County Board of Elections at 910-277-2595.
Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171