LUMBERTON — Voters who want to avoid long lines on May 8 can cast their ballot during early voting, which began today at 8:15 a.m. at three county locations and continues until May 5.
Ballots may be cast at the Board of Elections office at 108 W. Elizabethtown Road, the Fairmont Fire Hall on South Main Street, and at the Pembroke Public Library on Blaine Street. Locations will be open Mondays through Fridays from 8:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. On May 5, locations will be open from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Any registered North Carolina voter may choose to vote in person using early voting, which is also called one-stop because first-time eligible voters can register and vote on the same day.
The May 8 election serves as a primary for Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Libertarians voting in county, state and federal elections, but serves as the general election for the county Board of Education, which is non-partisan. Unaffiliated voters can choose to vote in the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or Independent primary. About three-fourths of Robeson County’s 70,943 registered voters are registered as Democrat, according to Dock Locklear, director of the Robeson County Board of Elections.
Locklear said the Board of Elections mailed out new voter registration and verification cards to all registered voters in the county in the aftermath of recent redistricting, which he expects will cause some confusion.
Locklear said residents will vote at the same places as in the past, but some might be confused by the candidates. For example, most of the county is now U.S. House District 8, which is represented by Larry Kissell, a Democrat; in the past, all of the county has been in Lumberton native Mike McIntyre’s District 7. Only a sliver of District 7 remains in Robeson County. McIntyre is unopposed in the primary in District 7, but will face Republican opposition in November.
“They didn’t realize that their jurisdictions had changed. We thought it would be a good idea to explain that,” he said. “If they get a card, unless they see something wrong with it, the card’s OK.”
Anyone with questions can contact the Board of Elections office at 910-671-3080.
Democrats will have the most choices in competitive races in county elections, but have no choice for president, where Barack Obama is unopposed.
Democrats will be voting for District 8 in the U.S. House of Representatives, governor, lieutenant governor, commissioner of Agriculture, commissioner of Labor, treasurer, county Register of Deeds, state House, and Districts 1, 3, 5 and 7 in the county Board of Commissioners.
Republicans will have essentially the same choices, but will vote for a president, although Mitt Romney has clinched the nomination, and will only have one choice for the county Board of Commissioners, in District 7.
Republicans will also be voting for Districts 7 and 8 in the U.S. House, governor, lieutenant governor, auditor, commissioner of Agriculture, commissioner of Insurance, secretary of state, superintendent of Public Instruction, treasurer, and District 7 on the Board of Commissioners.
Libertarians will be voting for a president.
Everyone will cast ballots for Board of Education, with three at-large seats up for election as well as seats in Districts Districts 1, 4, 5 and 7. The May 8 vote serves as the General Election for the school board, which is is non-partisan.
All the ballots will have the Amendment One referendum, with a for vote being to place on the state constitution a ban on same-sex marriage, and against vote being not to place the ban in the state constitution.
The only voting choice for Independents will be Amendment One and the school board.
The ballots will include some uncontested races, such as Sen. Michael Walters, a Democrat, in District 3.
Locklear said two races for the county Board of Commissioners “will probably be the most activity.” The race in District 1 pits incumbent Jerry Stephens against challenger James Smith; Lumberton Councilman John Cantey’s name is on the ballot, but he has withdrawn from the race.
In District 5, incumbent Raymond Cummings faces challenger Lacy Cummings in a race political observers believe will be close.
The turnout for early voting in Robeson County has been heavy in recent years.