Cast your vote in upcoming primary elections

Published 1:40 pm Saturday, March 26, 2022

During the November municipal elections, voters showed up to cast their votes for Beaufort County sheriff. The problem, though, was that particular office wasn’t up for election during the 2021 cycle.

Some early campaigning — signs for some candidates started showing up around the county months prior to the municipals and nearly a year before the actual sheriff primaries this spring — likely contributed to the confusion.

The wait is almost over.

Beaufort County residents will soon have the opportunity to vote in primary elections for sheriff along with a host of other local, state and federal positions.

Interest in the sheriff contest could help drive some additional participation for what is typically a lower turnout event, said Kellie Harris Hopkins, director of the Beaufort County Board of Elections. The 2020 primary generated around 30 percent turnout.

Republican candidates for sheriff include Scott Hammonds and incumbent Ernie Coleman. Democratic candidates include Corey Rogerson, Harold N. Bright Jr. and Petre Earl Franks Sr.

Another local contest of interest is the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners.  Republican candidates include Stan Deatherage, Frankie Waters, Dawn Brinson Slann and Tandy Oliver Dunn. Voters will narrow that list down to three for the general election. Ed Booth is the only democratic candidate on the primary ballot.

The May 17 primary election will also feature a first for Beaufort County, Hopkins said.  Two district contests for Beaufort County Board of Education will show up on primary ballots for the first time since BOE seats were designated as partisan races starting in 2018. District 6 features republican candidates Gary M. Carlton, Sherri Clark and Michael Bilbro. District 8 includes republican candidates Butch Oliver and Donald W. Shreve.

One-stop, in-person, absentee voting begins April 28 at the Beaufort County Board of Elections, 1308 Highland Drive in Washington. One-stop voting will be available from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday-Friday through May 13, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 14.

The Board of Elections is also offering one-stop voting at satellite sites in Aurora and Belhaven. Those sites will be open from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on May 12-13 and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 14. The Aurora site is located at the Aurora Community Building at 442 3rd Street and the Belhaven site is located at the John A. Wilkinson Center at 144 W. Main Street.

It’s important to remember that local elections, like those included in the upcoming primary, have direct influence on government decisions that are most likely to hit home. Be sure to cast your vote on or before May 17.

Ashley Vansant is publisher of the Washington Daily News. He can be reached at