NC State Board of Elections

BOONE — Following a statewide trend, Watauga County saw its highest presidential election turnout in years this November, with 71.62 percent of the county’s 45,164 registered voters casting a ballot.

Watauga County’s 2020 election results are official following the Board of Elections’ canvass meeting, held Nov. 13 at the Watauga County Administration Building.

The board reviewed the 260 provisional ballots that were cast on Election Day, with 109 approved and 151 not approved, according to Watauga County Elections Director Matthew Snyder. Voters are given provisional ballots if their eligibility to vote in the county cannot immediately be verified on Election Day. If the voter’s registration can be verified, the vote is counted.

The inclusion of the 109 additional ballots did not change the outcome of any races in Watauga County.

The five-member board voted to sustain five challenges, including an early voter who died before Election Day, a voter who was convicted of a felony this year, two voters who reside in Avery County and a mail-in absentee ballot received from a woman who also voted in person on Election Day. The woman, an Appalachian State student, told elections staff that after some confusion about whether her absentee ballot had been mailed yet, she went to vote on Election Day, unaware that her mother had mailed in her absentee ballot for her from Charlotte.

The five challenged ballots were not counted in the final election results.

Board member Eric Eller moved to send the case of the double-voter to authorities for an investigation, but the motion failed.

At 71.62 percent, Watauga County’s 2020 turnout was higher than in 2016, at 65.33 percent; 2012, at 62 percent; and 2008, at 68 percent, according to previous Watauga Democrat reports. By comparison, North Carolina turnout in those years was 75 percent in 2020, 69 percent in 2016, 68 percent in 2012 and 70 percent in 2008, according to the State Board of Elections.

In neighboring Ashe County, turnout was even higher, at 81.46 percent, according to the SBOE. Avery County had a 76.88 percent turnout rate, Caldwell was at 78.41 percent and Wilkes was at 81.06 percent.

According to the SBOE, of the 32,346 votes cast in Watauga County this election, 27,893 were mail-in absentee or one-stop early ballots. Of that, 22,485 voted early and 5,408 voted by mail-in ballot.

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(1) comment


I still cant understand how and why ASU students vote in our local elections. First off where were they sent when Covid broke out? They were sent to their HOMETOWN, not Boone except the students who is from Boone. Secondly why should a senior graduating in December be able to cast a vote in our local elections that we deal with for the next 4 years and he or she is gone in a month. That is just wrong and if the show was on the other foot I know one party that would do everything possible to stop this.

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