Early voting starts today

Published 12:51 am Thursday, October 20, 2011

Early voting, also known as one-stop voting, begins at 8 a.m. today for Beaufort County’s Nov. 8 municipal elections.

During the one-stop voting period, voting takes place at the Beaufort County Board of Elections, Suite 104, 1308 Highland Drive, Washington, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Early voting ends Nov. 5, when voters may mark ballots from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Pantego voters do not have the option to use one-stop voting because the town has not approved that option, said Kellie Harris Hopkins, Beaufort County’s elections director.

Hopkins and Anita Bullock Branch, deputy elections director, believe turnout for one-stop voting will be light this election cycle.

“It appears it’s going to be slow, and I only judge that by the number of absentee-ballot requests I’ve got. It’s been very, very low. We’re thinking it’s going to be slow,” Branch said. “But you never know. We have been surprised.”

Write-in votes will decide who’s elected to the two seats available on the Aurora Board of Commissioners this election cycle, Hopkins said.

“In Aurora, the interesting thing is that we had Mike Poteet withdraw. So, we don’t have any names on the ballot. It will be decided by two write-in votes,” Hopkins said. “He withdrew due to hurricane damage. He was displaced due to the hurricane and was unable to stay within the city limits of Aurora.”

Poteet explained his situation in his withdrawal letter to the Board of Elections.

“I tried to remain a resident in the area of Aurora with no luck. I have a permanent residence in the county of Pamlico,” he wrote in the letter, which the board received in September.

The ballot for the Aurora election includes two places for write-in votes.

Hopkins said she’s aware that some Aurora residents are mounting write-in campaigns. Write-in candidates must meet all eligibility requirements that candidates who file to run in a municipal election are required to meet, Hopkins explained.

Belhaven voters will be doing more than voting for a mayor and three members of the Belhaven Board of Aldermen.

“Belhaven has the referendum for recall elections,” Hopkins said.

If voters support the recall proposition, Belhaven residents would be able to submit a petition calling for recall elections involving the mayor and aldermen. Such a petition would require the signatures of at least 25 percent of the town’s registered voters.

In Washington, Mayor Archie Jennings is unopposed in his re-election bid.

Incumbent City Council members Gil Davis, Doug Mercer, Edward Moultrie Jr., William Pitt and Bobby Roberson are seeking re-election to the five-member council, but they face challenges from former council member Richard Brooks, plus Rick Gagliano and Lloyd May.

The top five vote-getters in the council race and Jennings would take office in December.

In, Bath Mayor Jimmy Latham is unopposed in his re-election bid.

John A. Taylor and Keith Tankard face no opposition in their bids for the two seats available on the Bath Board of Commissioners.

Patricia Duffer is unopposed in her bid to be elected to serve out the unexpired term of Marty Fulton, who resigned.

In Belhaven, all available seats this election cycle are contested.

Incumbent Mayor Adam O’Neal is being challenged by Ronald Winfield.

Seeking the two aldermen posts in the eastern district are Walt Allen, Vic Cox, Karen Fisher and Cindy Ross.

Fighting for the one western district seat are Thomas Ballard and Robert Stanley.

In Chocowinity, Commissioners M.L. Dunbar and Arlene Jones are unopposed in their re-election bids.

In Pantego, longtime Mayor Glenda Jackson is unopposed in her re-election try.

The five candidates running for the five seats on the Pantego Board of Commissioners are Mart Benson, Richard Craig, Robert Floyd Edwards, Chad Keech and Stuart Edwin Ricks.

Washington Park Mayor Tom Richter is unopposed in is re-election campaign.

Five candidates — Jeff Peacock, Don Wilkinson, Lee Bowen, Patrick Nash and Jim Pagnani — are seeking the five seats available on the Washington Park Board of Commissioners.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike