Early voting starts October 15

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Early voting kicks off in North Carolina October 15, and poll workers are bracing for an influx of voters, even as locals still have questions about what’s different this year.

The number one question on their mind: Are masks required?

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No. But according to Sara Knotts, the Brunswick County Board of Elections Director, they’re highly encouraged:

“The state board provided guidance that because there is no constitutional requirement, or statutory requirement that voters wear masks, we can’t require that. That would be infringing on their right to vote. So we will be offering and encouraging but of course, not requiring. Voters that choose to come in without a mask…they’ll be treated just like anybody else.”

Polling places are still taking precautions, like mandating social distancing, using a new pen with every voter, and disinfecting voting booths with every use.

David Jones is a seasoned poll worker, and says Brunswick County is prepared.

“We’ve always been prepared,”Jones says. “It’s well run in Brunswick County. I mean the team here, they know what they’re doing. So you can feel very secure that your vote’s going to be counted.”

Here are some more things you need to know.

  • You can request an absentee ballot through October 27.
  • The elderly and those with pre-existing conditions can take advantage of early voting’s curbside voting program.
  • You can register and vote at the same time during the early voting period.
  • Early voting ends October 31.

There should be no obstacles to vote this year, a right poll worker Jacqueline Adair says is vital.

“I think it’s very important everywhere to vote. That is your right. That is your right. You know, our forefathers died for our right to vote and I think everyone should exercise it,” states Adair.

If you’d like to find out where your nearest polling location is, click this link.