Requests For Mail-In Ballots Up Dramatically In Mecklenburg County
The Mecklenburg County Board of Elections had received more than 128,000 requests for mail-in ballots by Tuesday – and new requests are pouring in at a rate of 3,000 to 4,000 a day. It's one of the many ways that the coronavirus pandemic is changing the 2020 general election.
The number of mail-in ballot requests received so far is 17 times more than what was requested in 2016, said Kristin Mavromatis, the board’s public information manager.
As many as 40% of North Carolina’s voters could be expected to vote by mail this election, according to The Charlotte Observer.
Mavromatis advises residents who want to vote by mail to make their request by Oct.15 to ensure that all goes smoothly. The official deadline to request a ballot in North Carolina is Oct. 27.
The elections board is also preparing for early voting, which will be held Oct. 15-31, and for Election Day, Nov. 3.
“Each voter needs to do what’s best for them,” Mavromatis said. “We’re offering all three types of voting so they can vote by mail if that makes them the most comfortable. They can absolutely vote early, or they can wait and vote on Election Day.”
Those who wish to vote early will have a choice of socially distanced voting locations, including Bank of America Stadium, Spectrum Center, Bojangles’ Coliseum and a number of high school gyms. There will be 33 locations, in all – a 50% increase.
The elections board is also focused on having enough poll workers. In Mecklenburg, the average age of a poll worker is 72, Mavromatis said. While the response to a request for more volunteers has been good, she said, Mecklenburg hopes to field 4,000 volunteers, in all.
Mavromatis expects that as many as 20% of Mecklenburg’s poll workers will choose not to volunteer during the pandemic.
“For now, we’ve had very few poll workers back out,” Mavromatis said. “However, we’ve had very few commit to working, as well.”
For more information, visit meckboe.org.
Tellez-Duran is a student in a political reporting seminar in the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte.