The 2017 municipal election process in Mount Airy is heating up, with early voting to begin at a site in the city on Wednesday.
Starting at 8:30 a.m. that day, the lower level of the Municipal Building at 300 S. Main St. will host four days of early voting, a prelude to Election Day next Tuesday.
“We hope everyone comes out and votes,” Surry County Board of Elections Director Susan Jarrell said Monday of the early voting period that also offers a special service to citizens who are not registered. They can complete that process, which Jarrell says takes “probably less than five minutes,” and also cast their ballots.
This won’t be available on Election Day itself, for which there was an Oct. 13 registration deadline.
In recent years, a notable number of citizens have taken advantage of the one-stop, no-excuse absentee early voting period to complete registration, Jarrell said. “In general election years, it’s a significant number.” In 2016, for example, 91 people registered at early voting sites.
Those who are unsure of their registration status can consult the Surry County Board of Elections website or call its office.
Citizens who do register during the early voting period for the Mount Airy election must provide documentation of their present addresses to verify they reside inside the city limits and are thus eligible. This can include a utility bill, bank statement or any governmental document — including a fishing license, Jarrell said.
Mount Airy had 6,772 registered voters as of Oct. 9, compared to 6,464 reported in October 2015 before the last municipal election.
This year’s election features a mayoral race between incumbent David Rowe and challenger Ivy Sheppard. Incumbent South Ward Commissioner Steve Yokeley is trying to hold on to his seat against Todd Harris, a former city commissioner of 12 years, while Commissioner Jon Cawley is unopposed for his North Ward post.
Early voting schedule
Citizens can cast early ballots at the Municipal Building from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday through Friday this week, and on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Those who wait until Election Day will have to vote at their assigned precincts, which include five different locations around town.
Same-day early voting/registration also is continuing this week at the Surry Board of Elections in Dobson, where it began on Oct. 19. The hours there are 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Friday and 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
The Dobson site is on the lower level of the new county courthouse on Kapp Street.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.