LUMBERTON — If early voting is any indicator, election officials can expect to have a busy Tuesday.
As of Friday night, 15,992 Robeson County voters — 21 percent of those registered to vote in the county — had cast ballots during the early voting period. That total surpasses the 14,050 ballots cast during the entire early voting period for the 2008 presidential election, according to Dock Locklear, director of the Robeson County Board of Elections, and does not include ballots cast on Saturday.
According to the Board of Elections, the biggest turnout during early voting was from the black community, with 7,979 votes cast. White people cast 4,090 votes, and American Indians, 3,382.
Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. People should place their ballots at their normal polling sites, but in case of confusion, a precinct and polling place finder and a personalized sample ballot can be found by visiting the State Board of Elections website — www.ncsbe.gov — and following the appropriate links at the top of the page. Anyone with questions can also call the Robeson County Board of Elections office at 910-671-3080.
Pickings are slim at the local level, with only the District 7 seat of the Robeson County Board of Commissioners up for grabs. Incumbent Tom Taylor, a Democrat, will face Republican Dennis Harrell.
Robeson County District Court Judge Judith Milsap Daniels, who is seeking her second four-year term on the bench, is being challenged by Rodney Oxendine, an assistant Robeson County district attorney for almost 12 years. Oxendine is seeking his first elected public office.
This election year, much of the county lies in congressional District 8 for the first time. District 8 is represented by Larry Kissell, a Democrat. Mike McIntyre, a Lumberton native, represents District 7, which used to include all of Robeson County, but now includes just a sliver of it.
Kissell is running against Richard Hudson, a Republican, and Antonio Blue, a Democratic write-in candidate. McIntyre will face off against Republican state Sen. David Rouzer.
State Sen. Michael Walters, a Democrat from Fairmont, is defending his District 13 seat against W. Bernard White Jr., a Republican from Whiteville. District 13, which consisted of Robeson and Hoke counties before the Republican-controlled General Assembly drew new voting districts following the 2010 census, now includes Robeson and Columbus counties.
Rep. G.L. Pridgen, of Lumberton, the only Republican in Robeson County’s current state delegation, hopes to hold on to his District 46 seat by defeating Kenneth Waddell, the Democratic mayor of Chadbourn. House District 46 formerly encompassed Robeson, Hoke and Scotland counties, but was redrawn to include Robeson, Bladen and Columbus counties.
Reps. Charles Graham of District 47, Garland Pierce of District 48 and Ken Goodman of District 66, all Democrats, are unopposed Tuesday. Democrat Vickie Locklear is running unopposed for the office of register of deeds.
In the presidential race, voters will have the chance to choose between Democratic incumbents Barack Obama and Joe Biden, Republican challengers Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and Libertarians Gary Johnson and James P. Gray.
Choosing a straight-party ticket does not include a vote for president — that vote must be made separately.
The only other three-party race is for North Carolina governor. Libertarian Barbara Howe is facing Republican Pat McCrory and Democrat Walter Dalton.
Linda D. Coleman, a Democrat, and Dan Forest, a Republican, are vying for lieutenant governor.
The race for attorney general is uncontested, with Democrat Roy Cooper keeping his seat.
The race for North Carolina treasurer is between Democrat Janet Cowell and Republican Steve Royal. June Atkinson, a Democrat, and John Tedesco, a Republican, are running for the office of North Carolina superintendent of public instruction. The office of North Carolina Secretary of State is between incumbent Elaine Marshall, a Democrat, and Ed Goodwin, a Republican.
Races for commissioner of labor, insurance and agriculture and soil and water conservation district supervisor are also contested, as well as the nonpartisan offices of state Supreme Court associate justice and state Court of Appeals judge.