One more chance to vote

Two percent of Catawba County residents eligible to vote in this year's election marked their ballots at one-stop sites.

The rest of the county's 47,419 eligible voters still have an opportunity today to choose members of local municipal and school boards.

"There's not much opposition as far as the cities go this time, but there's always the opportunity for write-ins," said Larry Brewer, the county elections director. "There are also two school districts where you can voice your opinion for the boards. It's definitely an important election. They're all important."

A total of 966 people participated in early voting, Brewer said. Newton tallied the most early voters with 322, followed by 308 in Conover, 232 in Hickory, 46 in Maiden, 29 in Catawba and 10 in Claremont. Eight people voted in Longview and no one turned out in Brookford.

Brewer said 11 people who live in areas without municipal elections voted in Hickory Public Schools and Newton-Conover City Schools board of education races.

Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. today
When voters arrive at the polls, they must provide their name and address.

"If the address is not correct, it'll be corrected right then. You'll still be able to vote," Brewer said. "If you're not at the right precinct, you'll be asked to go to your home precinct. If anyone has trouble voting, give our office a call."

A list of precincts is available online at

Precinct changes
Brewer said five of Catawba County's 41 precincts will not open today because of low numbers of registered voters in those areas.

"All of those people received letters telling them where to go to vote," he said.

Voters registered for Oxford precinct No. 27 in Claremont will vote at Claremont City Hall precinct No. 6.

Voters registered for East Maiden precinct No. 9 will vote at Maiden Community Center precinct No. 20.

Those registered to vote at St. Stephens precinct No. 29 in Conover will vote at St. Stephens Lutheran Church precinct No. 30 in Hickory.

Mountain View precincts No. 23 and 24 will vote at Brookford precinct No. 4.

Election officials say they don't expect lines as the polls close.

Candidates and residents are welcome to visit the Board of Elections office at 100 A SW Blvd. in Newton to watch results as they're posted, Brewer said. Those results will also be posted on the county's elections website.

Looking forward
Brewer said each of Catawba County's voting precincts utilizes three election judges.

He said another 50-80 volunteers help on Election Day at various voting sites.

"We have a lot of people who have enjoyed doing it for years," he said. "It's a community service-type thing."

The 2012 election will include races for president, governor, N.C. House and Senate, U.S. Congress, judges and other positions, meaning more people are likely to turn out to vote.

"We've already started planning for next year," Brewer said. "We're always needing volunteers, especially for next year. Anybody who'd like to volunteer to work their precinct or any precinct can give our office a call. You just have to be registered in Catawba County to work an election."

Brewer also said the 2011 municipal election marks the last time Catawba County will manage a small group of voters from Burke County who live in Hickory and Longview and vote in those elections.

"There are about 450 of those people in Longview and 20 people in the city of Hickory," he said. "This year they will come into Catawba County as they have. Burke County will manage that in the next city election two years from now."