We’re now just under four weeks until Election Day 2020. Ballots are flowing into boards of elections across the country.

Here in Moore County, more than 11,000 “absentee” mail-in ballots have gone out to fulfill requests. As of late last week, 4,728 of them had already come back in.

You can go blind trying to read these tea leaves, and we suggest you not try, especially while the process itself remains under attack.

There are those who would have you believe that mail-in voting is fraudulent or somehow subject to gaming. Some, such as U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, offer views that conflict with their own words and actions. In the first two senatorial debates with Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, Tillis said he had faith in absentee voting by mail. By the third debate, he said he had “grave concerns.”

But that didn’t stop him from sending out a campaign flyer asking voters to cast their ballots by mail. Insert eye-roll emoji.

Built for Integrity

First, however you vote this year — by mail, in-person early voting or in-person on Election Day — we urge you to cast a ballot. Regardless of your political views, voting is a right and an obligation of free citizens to exercise their voice in representative government.

Those who cast doubts on the process do so without evidence. Multiple checks and balances are in place, and they have over the years ferreted out the few times when someone has voted improperly. Most of these irregular votes came from people with dual residencies or from convicted felons who had not had voting rights restored. But mass ballot stuffing or willful destruction of ballots? That’s as likely as our array of communication satellites falling out of orbit and crashing to Earth.

The staff who run the Moore County Board of Elections, under the longtime direction of Glenda Clendenin, do so with seriousness of purpose and consequence. They are well-versed in election law. We have faith in their ability to execute their important duty.

To that end, the county Board of Elections has begun live-streaming its weekly meetings to review submitted ballots. Any interested person can watch as the board logs in ballots and checks to make sure they contain a proper address and witness signature. People are allowed to fix address problems. Votes without witness signatures are set aside. So far, a single ballot had that problem.

Ways to Engage

Just as The Pilot does every year during election season, it will on Sunday begin running in this space endorsements for several offices: U.S. House Districts 8 and 9; N.C. Senate District 25; N.C. House District 52; Moore County Board of Commissioners; and Moore County Board of Education.

If you’d rather get out and vote in person, your chance begins Oct. 15. The early voting period this year will run until Oct. 31 and includes the weekend days, as well, including both Sundays, Oct. 18 and 25. Early voting sites have been increased this year to include the county Agricultural Center on Pinehurst Avenue in Carthage; the Aberdeen Recreation Station on U.S. 1; the Pinehurst Community Center at N.C. 211 and Rattlesnake Trail; and Vass Town Hall on South Alma Street.

Without doubt, some campaigns will have volunteer poll workers who can get a little aggressive — or intimidating — in getting their points across to approaching voters. We would expect Moore County officials to be cognizant of this and uphold the proper buffer zones so folks can vote without obstruction. All voters should be welcomed for taking the time to perform this important duty.

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