First Posted: 1/15/2009
LUMBERTON - Elections officials are expecting a larger-than-normal turnout on Tuesday during municipal elections because of the presence of a referendum on a proposed quarter-cent sales-tax hike.
The polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Voters in four Lumberton precincts will have a new voting site.
Dock Locklear, director of the county Board of Elections, said he expects a smooth election day even though there is a large slate of candidates. He said municipal elections typically draw about a 10 percent turnout.
There are 59 seats up for election in the county's 13 municipalities, and all but seven of those seats are being contested. Among those getting a pass to another term are Ray Pennington, the longtime Lumberton mayor, and Milton Hunt, the longtime mayor in Pembroke. Mayors in Maxton, Red Springs, Rowland and St. Pauls all face challengers.
One-Stop Voting, which ended at 1 p.m. Saturday, shows a heightened interest in the election with 897 ballots being cast.
“This turnout is a little bit higher (than past One-Stops),” Locklear said.
He said that One-Stop voting was particularly heavy in Lumberton Precincts 6 and 7.
Voters on Tuesday are being asked to approve a quarter of a cent hike in the sales tax, which would push the sales tax to 7 cents on the dollar.
If approved, the measure would go into effect on April 1, 2008, and would generate about $2.2 million a year to be shared by the county, the Public Schools of Robeson County and Robeson Community College.
County officials have said the money is needed for infrastructure.
Locklear said there are four new polling places in Lumberton. “We changed those sites from one location to a better location,” he said.
The new voting locations are:
Lumberton Precinct 3, Godwin Heights Community Center, 1110 Mimosa St.
Lumberton Precinct 4, East Lumberton Resource Building, 1608 E. Second St.
Lumberton Precinct 6, South Lumberton Resource Building, 1408 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
Lumberton Precinct 7, West Lumberton Hut, 2411 Buchanan St.