Requests for absentee ballots in Gaston Co. quadruple compared to last presidential election

Ensuring absentee ballots are secure

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A record number of North Carolinians are choosing absentee voting instead of voting in-person.

In Mecklenburg County, the board of elections has sent out more than 133,000 absentee ballots.

In Gaston County, the board of elections has sent out 16,865 absentee ballots.

In the presidential election of 2016, they sent out a total of only 4,442 absentee ballots.

“I’m here dropping off my election ballot," voter Jamie Collomb said. "I decided to do that instead of mailing it with all the hooplah going on with the post office I figured this is the best option.”

Election workers are ensuring that whether you mail it or drop it off, your vote will be cast.

“We joke that we are the front line of democracy if you will," Gaston County Director of Elections Adam Ragan said.

On Thursday, South Carolina joined North Carolina in requiring a signature from a witness on your absentee ballot.

“It’s a very simple process," Ragan said. "It’s anyone over 18 years of age, they don’t have to be a registered voter.”

He says they are comitted to protecting election integrity and the health of voters.

“We’re gonna abide by sanitation and social distancing rules,” he said.

If you choose to vote in person in Gaston County you’ll notice some safety measures put in place like plexi glass barriers separating yourself from the poll worker.

If you have hearing or vision impairments, you can use a special machine that will fill out the ballot for you.

The goal is to offer every voter an option that is right for them, in an election year that is far from typical.

The deadline is to request an absentee ballot is October 27.

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