Early voting for U.S. House, state Supreme Court ends Saturday

The early voting period is almost over for the U.S. House of Representatives and N.C. Supreme Court primaries.

As of 2:30 p.m. Thursday, a total of just 83 people have voted at the Board of Elections office at the County Administration Building since the early one-stop voting period began on Thursday, May 26. The Board of Elections office in Marion is the only place for early voting for this primary election.

The final day for the early voting will be Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In comparison, around 3,200 to 3,300 people cast their ballots during the early one-stop voting period for the March primary, according to Elections Director Kim Welborn.

That primary attracted a great deal of interest because of a highly contested race for the Republican nominations for the Register of Deeds office and the McDowell County Commissioners. It was also the presidential primary for North Carolina and there were long lists of candidates for state offices on the ballots for their respective parties.

But in this primary election, only two offices are in question and none of the candidates are local.

Voters will make their decisions regarding the Democratic candidates for the 11th U.S. House District and a non-partisan associate justice candidate for the state Supreme Court.

Two Democrats, Tom Hill and Rick Bryson, are seeking the nomination of their party for the 11th U.S. House District’s seat. Whoever wins this primary will face the Republican incumbent, U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, in November.

The Democrats and unaffiliated voters are able to participate in this primary.

In addition, four candidates are on the ballot for the N.C. Supreme Court associate justice seat. They are Michael R. Morgan, Daniel Robertson, Robert H. Edmunds and Sabra Jean Faires. Whoever wins this primary will go on to the November election. Since this is a non-partisan race, Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and the unaffiliated are all able to cast their vote in this primary.

On Tuesday, all 17 precincts will be open in McDowell County from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Welborn said she will have four poll workers at each precinct, which is the least amount allowed by law.

The 17 precincts and their polling places are: Marion No. 1, Marion Elementary School; Marion No. 2, East Middle School; Marion No. 3, Clinchfield Methodist Fellowship Hall; Marion No. 4, First Freewill Baptist Church Fellowship Building; Marion No. 5, Cross Mill Church of God Fellowship Building; Pleasant Gardens, Pleasant Gardens Baptist Church Fellowship Building; West Marion, McDowell Senior Center; Crooked Creek, Crooked Creek Fire Department; Dysartsville, Dysartsville Fire Department; Glenwood, Glenwood Fire Department; Higgins, N.C. Highway Patrol station; Montford Cove, Sugar Hill Fire Department; Nebo, Nebo Elementary School; North Cove, Ashford/North Cove Fire Department; Old Fort No. 1, Old Fort First Baptist Church Fellowship Building; Old Fort No. 2, Old Fort Wesleyan Fellowship Building; and Turkey Cove, North Cove Elementary.

As with the previous primary, voters will need to bring some form of photo identification. They can include a N.C. driver’s license, a state identification card issued by the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles, a U.S. passport, a U.S. military ID card, a veterans ID card issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs, a tribal enrollment card issued by a federally or state recognized American Indian tribe, drivers license or non-operators identification card issued by another state or territory of the United States, but only if the voter registered to vote within ninety (90) days of the election.

Any of these forms of ID must be unexpired in order for the person to vote, according to the Website about the new requirement. Voters who are 70 years of age or older may use any acceptable photo ID that has been expired for any length of time, provided it expired after their 70th birthday, according to the state Board of Elections Website.

The cost of holding this unique primary, which is likely to draw almost no local interest, has been estimated by Welborn to be around $35,000. This includes paying the poll workers, voting equipment and other expenses. But like all the other counties in North Carolina, McDowell is required by law to hold this primary.

“We’ll probably have to do some amendments, change some line items,” said Welborn. “Whatever we need to do to make the election happen.”

The primary for the U.S. House seats was moved to June as a result of issues surrounding newly formed congressional districts in North Carolina. A court ruling from a three-judge panel required state lawmakers to redraw congressional district lines. As a result, state lawmakers voted to shift the congressional primary from March 15 to June 7. This new date is meant to accommodate the newly formed districts.

And in February, the U.S. Supreme Court denied North Carolina’s request to stay the redistricting order entered by the three-judge panel. Gov. Pat McCrory then signed legislation into law which eliminated runoffs or second primaries and established a June 7 primary for U.S. House seats under new district boundaries.

Later this month, the filing period will start for yet another race. The candidate filing period for the Soil and Water Conservation Board of Supervisors will begin at noon on Monday, June 13 and last through Friday, July 1 at noon. Filing fee is $5 and must be filed at the Board of Elections office.

For more information, contact the McDowell Board of Elections at 652-7121, ext. 342.

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