Q: I have read about mysterious packages of seeds arriving in the mail with a Chinese return address. What should I do if I get such a package?
Answer: Kimberly Gressley, director of the Forsyth County Center of N.C. Cooperative Extension, said that they have received questions regarding unsolicited packages of seeds in the mail. They say you should not plant unsolicited seeds that were received in the mail. Also do not dispose of them in the garbage, since they will end up in the landfill and may grow from there.
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services released a statement that these seeds “could be a pathway for the introduction of invasive species, insects and plant diseases.”
According to the statement, the seeds may be part of an internet scam known as “brushing.”
“According to the Better Business Bureau, foreign, third-party sellers use your address and Amazon information to generate a fake sale and positive reviews to boost their product ratings,” according to the department’s Plant Industry Division. “Seeds are just one of the items used in this scam, however, you could receive other inexpensive items such as rubber bands, plastic toys or empty bags.”
The NCDA&CS asks anyone who received one of these unsolicited shipments to save the contents in a sealed ziplock bag along with all shipping labels and contact the Plant Industry Division toll-free at 800-206-9333 or by email email@example.com. Plant Industry staff will contact you to gather information and make arrangements to get the package.
Q: I have requested my mail in ballot for the November election. I’m a Winston Salem/ Forsyth County voter. Since there is a question in many minds about the post office’s ability to get all mail to its destination in a timely manner, can I hand carry my ballot to the county election office downtown? Do they date it when it arrives? The law says it must be postmarked by Election Day.
Answer: “Yes, voters are more than welcome to hand deliver their absentee ballot to the board of elections office up until 5 p.m. on Election Day,” said Tim Tsujii, head of the Forsyth County Board of Elections. “It must be returned by the voter, their near relative, or legal guardian.”
The elections staff will date stamp all absentee ballots that are received, whether by mail or in-person, he said.
Q: Could you please explain how and when the votes from curbside voting, absentee voting, and any other variations of voting are counted?
Answer: Absentee by-mail ballots and One-Stop Early Voting ballots are counted at 2 p.m. on Election Day, but not made public until the polls close at 7:30 p.m., Tsujii said. “Curbside ballots are fed through the ballot scanner while they’re still present at their polling place, so they are counted along with the rest of the ballots on election night.”
The results are cumulatively added to the unofficial results as the chief judges from each precinct are bringing in the returns to the elections office, according to Tsujii, and these results are publicly displayed on the Forsyth County Board of Elections websites at www.fcvotes.com.