Calling all candidates|Election filing period opens Monday for municipal office seekers

Published 5:00 am Thursday, July 2, 2009

Contributing Editor

The filing period for municipal elections in Beaufort County begins at 8 a.m. Monday and ends at noon July 17.
“It’s going to be a normal year for municipal filings,” forecasts Kellie Harris Hopkins, elections director for Beaufort County. “I expect the usual when it comes to people filing.”
Voters will go to the polls Nov. 3 to choose mayors and members of their respective councils or boards of commissioners.
Only Beaufort County voters who live within one of the county’s seven municipalities — Aurora, Bath, Belhaven, Chocowinity, Pantego, Washington and Washington Park — will be able to vote.
Voters who live in one of the 11 precincts not in one of those municipalities are not eligible to vote in those elections.
The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 9. One-stop, no-excuse early voting begins Oct. 15 and ends at 1 p.m. Oct. 31. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is 5 p.m. Oct. 27.
Absentee ballots must be returned to a county’s board of elections by 5 p.m. on the day before a primary or election. Absentee ballots must be delivered by mail, commercial courier service or in person.
Qualified residents may register to vote and mark ballots on the same day during the one-stop voting period. That procedure was used for the first time in North Carolina during the 2007 elections.
Because that procedure is permitted only during the early-voting period, it cannot be used on Election Day, on the day of primary elections, before the one-stop voting period or the days between the end of the one-stop voting period and Election Day.
In Washington, the mayor’s seat and the five seats on the City Council will be contested.
The top five vote-getters in the council election will win seats on the new council, which will take office in December. The mayor and council members serve two-year terms.
In Belhaven, voters will mark ballots to elect a mayor and two aldermen. The mayor serves a two-year term. The town’s five aldermen serve four-year staggered terms.
The mayor’s seat, held by Adam O’Neal, and two aldermen’s seats, held by Steve Carawan (East End) and Howard D. Moore (West End), are up for election this year.
Chocowinity voters will mark ballots for a mayor and two commissioners to serve four-year terms on the town’s four-member Board of Commissioners. The mayor’s seat is held by Jimmy Mobley. The seats on the board now held by Louise S. Furman and Billy Albritton are up for grabs. The town’s commissioners serve four-year staggered terms.
This year, Bath voters will elect two commissioners to serve four-year terms on the town’s Board of Commissioners. Currently, those two seats are held by Marty Fulton and Jay Hardin, commissioners serving two-year terms.
They were elected to two-year terms instead of four-year terms in 2007 to provide for staggered terms on the board. Bath voters will choose three commissioners and a mayor in 2011 to serve four-year terms.
This year, Aurora voters will pick a mayor to serve a four-year term and two commissioners. Patricia Bragg and Clif Williams occupy the two seats on the four-member Board of Commissioners up for grabs this year. The town’s commissioners serve four-year staggered terms.
The mayor’s seat and each of the five seats on the Washington Park Board of Commissioners will be contested, too, this fall, as will be the mayor’s seat in Pantego and each of the five seats on the Pantego Board of Commissioners. Mayors and commissioners in Pantego and Washington Park serve two-year terms.