Pearlean Revels, director of the county board of elections, said about 30 percent of the 30,000 voter registration cards sent out last week were returned to the elections office because of incorrect addresses.
Revels attributed some of the problem to incorrect rural routes. She said the postal service has misdirected some of the mail as well.
"One of our elections board members had two cards in his post office box," Revels said. "Neither card was his. One card had the wrong post office box number and the other had a zip code that should have prevented it from even being placed in a post office box. So there are problems all around."
The registration cards have been sent to people who have not voted, or have changed their address or party affiliation in the past four years. Those receiving the mailing should make sure the card reflects the current 911 address because rural routes are no longer acceptable.
Anyone inadvertently receiving a card who has voted or updated their records in the last four years does not have to return the card.
Revels said elections offices are mandated by state law to update their registration records. She said most counties in the state have already updated their records, but Robeson County has been unable to until now because its E-911 addresses had not been updated.
The procedure, which costs the county about $7,000, will not affect voting during this year's election. But voters who did not respond to a second mailing later this year will be ineligible to vote in subsequent elections unless they register again.
Friday marked the first day that the elections officials began taking applications for absentee voting. Applications will be taken until Sept. 6.
Revels said she expects about 450 voters in the county to vote by absentee ballot.
Absentee ballots must be returned to the elections office by Sept. 9 at 5 p.m. Ballots may be mailed or hand-delivered.
One-stop voting begins Thursday at 8:15 a.m. and ends on Sept. 7 at 1 p.m. During that period, voters can fill out the proper paperwork and vote at the elections office at 108 W. Elizabethtown Road in Lumberton.
"This is really no-excuse voting because any voter can come in and vote," Revels said. "If they don't have time to vote at the regular time, they can do it in advance."
Revels said the Lumberton Precinct 1 polling place has moved from the National Guard Armory on Fayetteville Road to Lumberton Senior High School. It is the only precinct to change location.
She said the federal government banned states from using National Guard posts for voting after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Her office has informed Precinct 1 voters of the change in a mass mailing.