Most have quietly cast their votes during the early voting period, but a few have caused quite the stir, prompting officials to step in to regain control.
At the Onslow County Board of Elections Wednesday, voters made several complaints about a woman screaming at the top of her lungs outside the building, according to Board of Elections Director Rose Whitehurst.
The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office was called and the sheriff himself drove out.
Sheriff Hans Miller said voters claimed she was screaming in voter’s faces as they walked in and acting aggressively at the polls.
Miller gathered the crowd for a speech on appropriate behavior at the polls, and Whitehurst said the sheriff asked the gathered voters to act like ladies and gentlemen.
“This is such an emotional election (but) this is not what you should do,” he said.
Disagreements on candidates, local and presidential, are expected during elections, Miller said, but interfering with the constitutional rights of others is unacceptable behavior.
“You may not agree (but) have mutual respect,” Miller said. “Aggressive behavior will not be tolerated.”
That behavior can turn criminal, Miller continued, and if that happens the sheriff’s office will respond as the law requires.
No one was arrested on Wednesday, Miller added. Although it could have ended badly, Miller said he exerted a very strong warning about voter etiquette at the polls and believes his message was received.
But aggressively attempting to persuade other voters isn’t the only issue the Board of Elections has had, according to Whitehurst.
Some voters have been breaking out the camera phones, but Whitehurst said there are no selfies allowed at the voting station.
Courtesy of other voters is another major point Whitehurst wanted to stress. Those campaigning for candidates are allowed outside the voting stations but intimidating or harassing voters is not allowed.
“Please do not harass citizens,” she said. “This would be seen in a negative light on your candidate.”
And although the lines may sometimes be longer than expected, Whitehurst asked that people stop using the curbside voting if they don’t need to.
“Curbside is for those folks that have a medical condition that precludes them from standing in line,” Whitehurst said.
Absentee ballots have been a big hit this year, Whitehurst said, and she encouraged other voters to join the trend.
Forms are available at OnslowCountyNC.gov/Elections and as long as the Onslow County Board of Elections has them by Tuesday at 5 p.m., voters can cast their ballot from the comfort of their homes and skip the line completely.