Absentee voting deadline nears

Published 2:18 pm Friday, July 4, 2014

The primary runoff’s voter registration deadline passed this week, but another voting deadline is right around the corner.

“The last day for voters to apply for an absentee ballot is July 10,” said Benny Scarbrough, chairman of the Pike County Board of Registrars. “The last day you can hand deliver or postmark an absentee ballot is July 14, the day before the election.”

Voters can check which precinct they have been assigned to by visiting the Board of Registrars’ website (www.pikecountyboardofregistrars.com). The site also has directions to and photographs of each voting precinct.

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One precinct may not appear on the website because the precinct is still under construction. Those who cast ballots in the Saco Volunteer Fire Department during the primary will now vote in a nearby voting center.

“It’s only 30 yards from the original Saco precinct,” said County Commission Chairman Homer Wright.

The change was prompted by voter complaints. Voters reported a mold problem in the fire department. The precinct also had plumbing problems, and a portable toilet had to be delivered to the site during the last election.

“They’re working on it now. I think they’re going to be done in time for the runoff,” said Wright.

The building was delivered last week and cost the county about $5,500. In order to prepare it for the election, the building will need handicap access and will need to be wired for electricity. Construction will not include plumbing. The county plans to deliver a port-o-potty on Election Day. The construction will raise the total cost to about $12,000.

“We worked diligently on that because of the mold in the firehouse,” Wright said.

The fire department does not fall under the responsibility of commissioners and could not be repaired by them. The department’s primary source of income comes from taxes on tobacco products, which was not enough to mitigate mold and fix plumbing issues by the runoff.

Last month’s primary was the first election to require voters to present photo I.D. since the state legislature passed a bill mandating it.

Voters who come to the polls without valid identification will be allowed to vote a provisional ballot unless two election officials can verify the voter is registered in their precinct.

Probate Judge Wes Allen said there were no incidents requiring officials to verify a voter. “Everyone had their driver’s licenses,” he said.

The ballot will include four items for Republicans and one item for all voters to consider. Despite the light ballot, Probate Judge Wes Allen said it was important for voters to participate.

“Every race is important and every vote counts,” he said.

The runoff includes an amendment and three Republican run-offs. For Secretary of State, Reese McKinney will face John Merrill.

Candidates for state auditor are Dale Peterson and Jim Zeigler.

Place Two on the Public Service Commission has been narrowed down to two candidates: Dale Peterson and Jim Zeigler.

The runoff amendment would allow cotton farmers to hold an election to determine whether or not to make contributions to a statewide research and marketing program mandatory.

The Pike County Board of Registrars is located in the basement of the Courthouse. The office is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. For more information, call 566-1757.