Early voting ends Saturday

Published 12:56 am Friday, November 4, 2011

The opportunity for voters to participate in early, one-stop voting for municipal elections in Beaufort County ends Saturday.

One-stop voting continues from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. During the one-stop voting period, voting takes place at the Beaufort County Board of Elections, Suite 104, 1308 Highland Drive, Washington. On Election Day, which is Tuesday, polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.

As of 2:10 p.m. Thursday afternoon, 297 voters had marked ballots before Election Day according to Anita Bullock Branch, deputy elections director for Beaufort County. As of Thursday, there were 9,761 registered voters in the county’s seven municipalities – Aurora, Bath, Belhaven, Chocowinity, Pantego, Washington and Washington Park.

“Well, for a municipal election, its probably average. I thought it would be little lower,” Branch said about one-stop voting turnout this election cycle.

In the 2009 municipal elections, 2,741 voters market ballots either during the one-stop voting period or at the polls on Election Day, Branch said. That total was 41 percent of the 6,710 registered voters in the seven municipalities, she noted.

“It certainly is,” Bullock said when asked if she considers the increase of 3,051 registered voters (in the seven municipalities) from the 2009 election cycle to this year’s election cycle a significant increase.

Several polling places for municipal elections have been relocated.

The polling place for voters in Washington’s Ward 1 moved to the Improved Order of Red Men’s Lodge at 403 E. Third St.

In Belhaven, the polling place moved to the John A. Wilkinson Center, 144 W. Main St.

The polling place in Aurora moved to the Aurora Community Building, 442 Third St.

Write-in votes will decide who’s elected to the two seats available on the Aurora Board of Commissioners this election cycle. Mike Poteet, who filed to run for one of those seats, withdrew from the election because he no longer resides in Aurora. Damage to his Aurora home forced him to relocate to Pamlico County.

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

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.

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

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.

All available seats on the Belhaven Board of Aldermen are contested this election cycle.

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 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 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.

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