Early voting impacts Tuesday activity

May. 06, 2014 @ 11:43 PM

Early voting was the preferred route for most voters in the Vance, Granville and Warren counties during the mid-term primaries.

Few local races were on the ballots of each county. At press time, only Granville County had reported results for all precincts and turnout was above 21 percent. The state rate, with 84 percent reporting, was just over 13 percent.

This year, Vance County only had two contested races — for district attorney and school board chairwoman — while the rest saw only incumbents running.

Many voters came to the polls with the issues in mind.

Zelton Hunter participated in early voting but brought his wife to the primary.

“We need to help with what is going on with the middle class and the poor,” Hunter said. “I want candidates that are really going to push for us. It’s like we are at a standstill.”

Campaign teams were still present until polls closed at 7:30 p.m., setting up lawn chairs as early as 6 a.m., passing out flyers encouraging everyone passing by to vote.

“I believe that this is my right, my civic duty,” Geraldine Champion said after handing a voter a flyer. “I am campaigning for Mike Waters. I feel like his views and my views are the same. He believes that you should be treated equally in the courtroom.”

There were three contested Warren County commissioner races and a competitor in the sheriff’s race.

Deborah Formyduval, Warren County Board of Elections director, said only two of the 14 precincts experienced technical glitches, but they were only minor.

“Twelve out of 14 precincts without problems isn’t too bad,” she said.

At 10:30 p.m., however, none had been posted to the state board website.

Finley Neal, chief election judge for West Warrenton, said the local board of election anticipated higher turnout. His site received four polling machines, when they usually get three, he said.

One of the machines wasn’t working properly, but Neal said there were not enough voters for them to need it.

In Granville County, the sheriff race was contested as well as two board of education races and the Clerk of Superior Court race.

Helen Mitchell, chief judge of the East Oxford precinct, said the day had been slow since her site opened at 6:30 a.m.

“There was no line when we opened, which we have had in the past,” said Mitchell, who has worked with the polls in Granville County for 40 years. “The more local candidates, the more interest there will be in the election.”

Farrah Walton, who campaigned Tuesday at the polls, said the East Oxford poll site at the Oxford Police Department had been quiet for most of the day.

“Most people took advantage of early voting,” she said. “The hours are more flexible so working people can come and it’s generally more convenient.”

The 15 polling sites in Granville County operated smoothly Tuesday, despite rolling out a computer check-in system for the first time, according to Tonya Burnette, director of the Granville Board of Elections.

“We had minor problems, but overall they went really well,” she said.

Linda Singleton, a mother of two, said the Granville County Board of Education race and sheriff race were most important to her.

“I’m really happy with the education my kids are getting now,” she said of the Granville public schools.

Janet Parrott, mayor of Stovall, said some polls sites in the county saw higher turn-out than expected.

“I think there is a lot of concern because these are important officials making important decisions,” she said.

At the fire station on Dabney Drive in Henderson, activity was slow and there was no waiting between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. as Waters campaigned outside in the parking lot.