Time to vote

First Posted: 1/15/2009

Pulled by the presidential election, as many as twice the number of
Robesonians will go to the polls today as did during the last primary
that didn’t include a sheriff’s race. While that’s a good thing, it’s
also confusing — and a bit counterintuitive. The odds of any single
person casting a ballot today in Robeson County that will significantly
impact whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama faces John McCain in the
November General Election is zero. However, as we learned during a City
Council race in November, it is conceivable that a single ballot could
decide a local race, for the county Board of Commissioners, the Board of
Education or the General Assembly. As we have often pointed out in the
past, these local politicians, while they can’t wage a war, have
tremendous sway over our day-to-day lives. They establish local tax
rates, craft zoning laws, decide which road will be paved first, and
establish school policies, such as whether corporal punished will be
administered or an alternative school built. But the reason Robesonians
are likely to set a record today for ballots cast during an off-year
primary — in regard to a sheriff’s race — is because the campaigns for
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been generating interest and
hauling voters to One-Stop Voting, during which 4,555 votes — 3,061 in
Lumberton and 1,492 in Pembroke — were cast. So, potentially at least, a
lot of local races could be decided by who successfully cozied up to the
national campaign that does the best job of hauling candidates. This is
the first time in a long time that North Carolina has mattered in a
presidential primary, so it will be interesting to see if hard-charging
Hillary can chase down Obama in North Carolina and hold onto her slight
lead in Indiana. And how will Robeson County, which is 68 percent
minority but only 23 percent black, lean, in favor Clinton, who showed a
lot of love locally, or Obama, who made a last-second plea with a pledge
to support Lumbee recognition. We will know a lot more in a little bit.
Oh, and if you haven’t voted but are eligible to do so, the polls close
at 7:30 p.m.

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