What to know about voting in 2020

By on October 14, 2020

With in-person Early Voting starting on Oct. 15, the Voice reached out to Sandy Semans Ross, chair of the Dare County Board of Elections, to get the lowdown on key information about voting in the 2020 election. Her responses are here, along with the locations for both in-person Early Voting sites and Election Day voting sites on Nov. 3

Q: Can you still request an absentee mail-in ballot? When is the deadline for requesting one? 

A: Absentee ballots can be requested until 5 p.m. on Oct. 27. 


Q: What is the deadline for mailing in or returning an absentee mail-in in person? Where can you turn them in in person? 

 A: If mailed, they must be postmarked by 5 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3. They also can be hand-delivered to the Board of Elections office in Manteo on that day until 5 p.m. They cannot be turned into a polling site on Election Day.

During Early Voting, they may be dropped off at any of the three Early Voting sites in Kill Devil Hills, Manteo and Buxton. A table will set up outside the voting area so that there is no need to enter the polling place or stand in line with voters.


Q: Can you tell people how they can track the status of their absentee mail-in ballot once they send it in? 

A: After the request is received at the Dare County Board of Elections and entered into the state elections system, voters can track their request and ballot on BallotTrax on the North  Carolina Board of Elections website. The link is https://northcarolina.ballottrax.net/voter/.


Q: How many absentee mail-in ballot requests have you gotten so far? And how many ballots have already been turned in?

A: Due to a pending lawsuit, the state stopped publishing the number of absentee requests arriving each day. On Sept. 30, the last day the record was published, Dare County had received almost 4,000.

Requests are still coming in strong and as of Oct. 13, more than 4,500 ballots have been mailed to voters. As of Tuesday, Oct. 13, more than 1,800 have been received, approved and entered into the ballot counter.

During the 2016 presidential election, Dare County received and counted approximately 1,100. In the 2018 midterm elections, an estimated 400 absentee ballots were counted.


Q: For those who vote in person, either early or on Nov. 3, what kind of measures to restrict the spread of COVID -19 will be in place at the voting sites? Will voters be required to wear masks?  Will all polling place workers wear masks?

A: All poll workers are mandated to wear masks. Workers at tables will be sitting behind a plexiglass shield and if they move from those positions, will also wear a face shield with the mask. Sanitizer and gloves also will be provided.

Voters are encouraged to wear masks, but cannot be forced to comply due to federal law that prohibits adding any condition to the right to vote. 

Voters, both inside and outside the polls, must socially distance. At the door, voters will be offered a mask if they don’t have one as well as the use of sanitizer. Each voter will receive their own pen unused by anyone else. Voters should take the pen with them when they leave. Sanitizer also will be available for use as they leave.

The table and plexiglass screen in front of the poll worker and the voting booth will be sanitized after each voter.


Q: Have you been able to hire all the poll workers you need for early in-person voting and Nov. 3 voting?

 A: Yes. Very large applicant pool. 


Q: Given the complications with voting during a pandemic, do you have any sense of what 2020 turnout will be compared to a typical presidential-election-year turnout?

A: My personal guess is that even with COVID, we are going to have a very large turnout. During the 2016 presidential election, Dare County had a 67 percent turnout and in 2018 mid-terms, about 57 percent. I would not be surprised to see it at least reach 80 percent – but that is just my guesstimating.


Q: If people have any questions about voting, who should they contact?

 A: If voters have problems or questions, they should call the Dare County Board of Elections office at 252-475-5631. The phones have been very busy so if they need to leave a voice mail, someone will get back to them.


Early voting for the 2020 General Election begins on October 15, 2020 at three locations:

  • Dare County Administration Building – 954 Marshall C. Collins Dr., Manteo, NC 27952
  • Kill Devil Hills Town Hall Commissioners Meeting Room, 102 Town Hall Drive, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948
  • Cape Hatteras Secondary School Auditorium – 48576 NC Hwy. 12, Buxton, NC 27920

The sites are open weekdays from October 15, 2020 through October 30, 2020 from 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays, October 17 and 24 from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. The last day of early voting is Saturday, October 31 from 8:00 a.m – 3:00 p.m.


November 3, Election Day Precincts/Polling Places are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

On Election Day, the polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Election Day for the 2020 General Election is on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. You will vote at your precinct’s polling place. Use the Voter Lookup Tool to find your polling place, sample ballots, and more.

Precinct/Polling Place Location


Avon – Avon Fire Station
40159 Harbor Road, Avon, NC 27915
Buxton – Cape Hatteras Secondary School – Auditorium
48576 NC Hwy. 12, Buxton, NC 27920
Chicamacomico – Community Building Rodanthe
23646 NC Hwy 12,Rodanthe, NC 27969
Colington – First Flight Middle School – Gym
109 Veterans Dr. Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948
Duck Town Hall
1200 Duck Road , Duck, NC 27949
East Lake Community Building
16674 US Highway 64, East Lake, NC 27953
Frisco – Cape Hatteras Secondary School – Auditorium
48576 NC Highway 12, Frisco, NC 27936
Hatteras – Hatteras Civic Center
56658 NC Highway 12, Hatteras, NC 27943
Kill Devil Hills – First Flight Middle School – Gym
109 Veterans Drive, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948
Kitty Hawk – Kitty Hawk Town Hall
101 Veterans Memorial Drive, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949
Manteo –  Manteo High School
829 Wingina Ave., Manteo, NC 27954
Manns Harbor – Manns Harbor Community Building
6657 US Highway 64/264, Manns Harbor, NC 27953
Nags Head- Nags Head Elementary School
3100 S. Wrightsville Ave., Nags Head, NC 27959
Southern Shores – Kitty Hawk Elementary School
16 S. Dogwood Trl., Kitty Hawk NC 27949
Stumpy Point Community Building
251 Bayview Drive, Stumpy Point, NC 27978
 Wanchese Community Building
295 Old Schoolhouse Road, Wanchese, NC 27981


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