LUMBERTON — Tuesday could be tricky for those making their way to the polls for the primary election, according to a recent study that found Robeson County voters could be among the most confused in the state when casting ballots.
The study by nonpartisan group Democracy Now says recent redistricting could cause confusion at the polls.
Dock Locklear, director of the county Board of Elections, said precinct lines have not changed, so voters will cast ballots at the same sites as they did during the 2010 primary and General Election unless they have moved to another precinct. But they might see some unfamiliar names on the ballots. For example, almost all of the county is now in congressional District 8, which 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.
Locklear said sample ballots will be posted, and voters should ask election officials for help if they are confused.
“We’re telling them to check the ballots when they are getting them to make sure they have right ballots,” Locklear said. “Most people when they come in they already know who they are voting.”
Polls will be open on Tuesday from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and a directory of polling places can be found at ncvoterguide.org. Anyone with questions can contact the Board of Elections office at 910-671-3080.
Tuesday’s 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.
Also on the ballot is the Amendment One referendum that will decide whether the state Constitution should be amended to define marriage as being only between one man and one woman.
Early voting, which began on April 19, ended Saturday. As of early Friday, about 5,500 early votes had been cast — about 3,200 at the Board of Elections site in Lumberton, about 2,000 in Pembroke, and about 250 in Fairmont.
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. McIntyre is unopposed in the primary in District 7 of the U.S. House.
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.
There are four district seats on the Board of Education up for election, but only two, Districts 4 and 5, offer competitive races. The incumbents in Districts 1 and 7 are unopposed. Also, there are three at-large seats on the school board up for election; voters will vote for one person in the at-large race.