Early voting going slowly

Published 4:52 pm Thursday, October 24, 2013

Early voting in Beaufort County’s municipal elections is almost at a snail’s pace, according to an elections official

“Very, very slow,” said Anita Bullock Branch, deputy director of the Beaufort County Board of Elections, on Thursday when asked about the turnout for early voting.

As of 12:30 p.m. Thursday, ninety-three voters had market ballots, she said.

Asked if she thought the low turnout is the result of just having municipal elections this election cycle, Branch said, “It’s that, and a lot of the towns don’t have any contested races.”

Belhaven, Washington and Washington Park have contested races this year. Aurora, Bath, Chocowinity and Pantego do not have contested races this year.

“I hope it will pick up next week,” Branch said.

The one-stop, early voting period began Oct. 17 and continues weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 1. Early voting also takes place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 2, the only Saturday when it occurs during the early voting period.

Voters wishing to mark ballots early may do so at the Beaufort County Board of Elections office, 1308 Highland Drive, Suite 104, Washington.

The general election is Nov. 5.

The county’s seven municipalities have elections this year. There is no election for Beaufort County sheriff this year. The primaries and general election for that race are next year.

In Washington, Mac “Bear” Hodges is faces a write-in challenge by Joseph Carter Leary for the mayor’s post.

Seeking seats on the five-member City Council are Ty Carter, Richard Brooks, Gil Davis, Lloyd May, Doug Mercer, Bobby Roberson, William H. Pitt and Larry Beeman.

In Aurora, Mayor Clif Williams is seeking re-election. Patricia Bragg and Raleigh B. Lee III are seeking the two seats on the Aurora Board of Commissioners that are available this election cycle.

W.C. Boyd Jr. filed as a candidate to finish the unexpired term of George Jones, who was elected in 2011 but did not complete his term. In March, Boyd was appointed to the seat once held by Jones. Because at least half of the term remains, a special election is required to elect a commissioner to complete the term.

In Bath, incumbents Patricia Duffer and Jay Hardin filed for re-election to that town’s Board of Commissioners. Bath commissioners serve four-year terms.

Belhaven voters have two choices for mayor, incumbent Adam O’Neal and Ronald Winfield.

Incumbent Steve Carawan and Tony Williams are vying for the east-end seat available on the Board of Aldermen this election cycle. Greg Satterthwaite is seeking the west-end seat available on the board this election cycle.

Julian P. Goff is seeking to finish out the unexpired term of Cindy Ross, who vacated her seat on the board after being elected to it in 2011.

The mayor serves a two-year term. Commissioners serve four-year terms.

Chocowinity Mayor Jimmy Mobley filed for re-election, as did incumbents Billy Albritton and Louise Furman. The mayor and commissioners serve four-year terms.

Pantego voters will elect a new mayor, with current Commissioner Stuart E. Ricks the lone candidate who filed for the mayor’s post. Unless a write-in candidate defeats Ricks, he will replace current Mayor Glenda Jackson. Five candidates are running for the five seats on that town’s Board of Commissioners. They are incumbents Mart Benson, Chad Keech and Robert F. Edwards. Also seeking seats on the board are Reid Michael Gelderman and Charles F. “Chuck” Williams.

The mayor and commissioners serve two-year terms.

Tom Richter is seeking re-election as Washington Park’s mayor.

Washington Park residents will see at least two new faces on that town’s Board of Commissioners after the elections in November.

Those faces could belong to Brian Wood, Wade Dale or Christie Potts — unless someone mounts a successful write-in campaign. Commissioner James Pagnani chose not to seek re-election. Incumbent commissioners Jeff Peacock, Lee Bowen and Patrick Nash are seeking re-election.

Dale and Potts entered the race for the five open seats on the five-member board after the death of Don L. Wilkinson Sr. on Aug. 12. Wilkinson, a commissioner for 16 years, had filed for re-election prior to his death. His death triggered the reopening of the filing period for candidate for the town’s board.

The mayor and commissioners serve two-year terms.

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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