Early voting opens

Published 12:07 pm Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Election day is fast approaching, and “one-stop” early voting begins today (Wednesday) across the state. A number of races, ranging from local to federal, are on the ballot this year, as well as six amendments for North Carolina’s constitution.

Bertie, Gates, and Hertford County will offer one early voting site each, while Northampton County will offer two. All early voting sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each weekday beginning today through Friday, Nov. 2. The sites will also be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3—the only Saturday voting day throughout the entire early voting period this year.

Bertie County residents can cast their vote early at the Board of Elections Office, located at 210 W. Watson Street in Windsor.

The Gates County Board of Elections Office, located at 931 Main Street in Gatesville, will serve as the early voting location for Gates County residents.

Hertford County voters can visit the Cooperative Extension Building, located at 301 W. Tryon Street in Winton, if they wish to vote before Election Day.

Citizens in Northampton County can choose between the J. W. Faison Administrative Building, located at 9495 NC Hwy 305 in Jackson, or the Cool Spring Community Center, located at 101 Cherry Street in Gaston, to vote early.

This year, voters will see their ballots covered both front and back with a variety of races.

In all four counties of the Roanoke-Chowan area, the only federal race listed on the ballot will be the one for the US House of Representatives (District 1) seat. Incumbent Democrat G. K. Butterfield will go against Republican challenger Roger W. Allison.

Voters in all four counties will also see a number of statewide judicial races on their ballots.

For NC Supreme Court Associate Justice (Seat 1), Republicans Barbara Jackson and Christopher (Chris) Anglin and Democrat Anita Earls will face off to fill the position.

Three seats are open for NC Court of Appeals Judges. Republican Andrew T. Heath and Democrat John S. Arrowood are the candidates for Seat 1. For Seat 2, there will be a three-way race between Republican Jefferson G. Griffin, Democrat Tobias (Toby) Hampson, and Republican Sandra Alice Ray. The candidates for Seat 3 are Republican Chuck Kitchen, Libertarian Michael Monaco Sr., and Democrat Allegra Katherine Collins.

Several statewide offices in the NC Senate and NC House of Representatives are up for grabs as well. Voters in Hertford and Gates counties will elect a candidate for NC State Senate (District 1) by choosing between Democrat D. Cole Phelps or Republican Bob Steinburg. These two counties will also vote to fill the NC House of Representatives (District 5) seat. Democrat Howard J. Hunter III and Republican Phillip Smith are the candidates for that seat.

Voters in Bertie and Northampton counties will see the NC State Senate (District 3) race listed on their ballots. Candidates for that seat will be Democrat Erica D. Smith and Republican C. (Chuck) Earley, Jr.

Both counties, however, fall into different House of Representative districts. Northampton voters will choose between Democrat Michael H. Wray and Republican Raymond (Ray) Dyer for District 27. Bertie voters will decide between Republican Edward C. Goodwin and Democrat Ronald (Ron) Wesson for District 1.

Democrat incumbent Valerie Asbell is the only candidate listed for the District Attorney race in District 7 which includes Bertie, Hertford, and Northampton counties. Gates County residents will vote for the District Attorney race in District 1. R. Andrew Womble, a Republican, is running unopposed for the position.

Several different county offices and nonpartisan races will also be listed on this year’s ballots, varying from county to county.

County races listed on the ballot in Bertie will include three commissioner seats, clerk of superior court, and sheriff.

Greg Atkins, Tammy A. Lee, and Ernestine (Byrd) Bazemore are all running unopposed for the open commissioner seats. Vasti F. James is running unopposed for clerk of superior court, while John Holley will be the only name listed on the ballot for sheriff. All are Democrats, and Atkins is the only newcomer.

Nonpartisan races in Bertie include three Board of Education seats as well as the Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor.

Rickey Freeman is running unopposed for the Board of Education District 2 seat. In District 3, Emma H. Johnson and Christine Dudley will go head to head for the position. District 4 will be a three-way race between Alton H. Parker, Vivian Saunders, and Norman M. Cherry. For the Soil and Water Supervisor, Blount Knowles and James S. Pugh are seeking a seat.

All of these nonpartisan races give voters the option to write-in a candidate.

Bertie County’s ballot will also include a vote on the local sales and use tax. Voters can choose to vote for or against a proposed one-quarter percent (0.25%) increase on the tax rate for local sales.

Voters in Bertie County with questions can call the Board of Elections office at 252-794-5306.

Local county-wide races in Gates County include three commissioner seats, clerk of superior court, and sheriff.

Democrat Jonathan A. Jones will face Republican C. W. Ward to fill the Eure District commissioner seat currently occupied by Billy F. Felton. For the Gates District seat, incumbent Democrat Ray Freeman is up against Republican Rebecca Crawford Parks. The last commissioner seat, from the Gatesville District, will put incumbent Democrat Jack Owens against Republican challenger Carol Whitt.

Democrat incumbent Nell F. Wiggins will be battling for the clerk of superior court seat against Republican Melinda Parks Dewitt. For sheriff, Republican James Gary Ingram will go head-to-head with Democrat Ray Campbell.

Gates County voters will see a number of judicial races listed on their ballots as well, but all candidates will be running unopposed. The candidate for NC Superior Court Judge (District 1), Seat 1 will be Democrat J.C. Cole, while the candidate for Seat 2 will be Republican Jerry R. Tillett. There are three seats open for the NC District Court Judge (District 1). Democrat Robert Parks Trivette will seek to fill Seat 1, Democrat Eula E. Reid for Seat 2, and Republican Meader Harriss for Seat 3.

The only nonpartisan race listed on the Gates ballot will be for Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor. R. E. Miller III and Rick H. Morgan are seeking that position. Voters have the option to write in candidates for this race.

Gates County voters with questions can contact the Board of Elections office at 252-357-1780.

Hertford County offices up for grabs in this election include two commissioner seats as well as the clerk for superior court and sheriff.

Having won the primary in May, Democrat Leroy Douglas will seek the District 1 commissioner seat unopposed. In District 2, there will be a three-way race among Republican Donald Kirkland, Democrat Andre M. Lassiter, and unaffiliated candidate Scott W. Outlaw.

Incumbent Democrat Shirley Gatling Johnson will run unopposed for clerk of superior court. In the race for sheriff, incumbent Democrat Dexter Hayes will face off against G. Brien Lassiter, an unaffiliated candidate.

People casting a ballot in Hertford County will also choose to fill three seats on the Board of Education and pick two candidates for the Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor.

Candidates listed for the Board of Education are Ray Faircloth, Jr., Margo Reynolds Howard, Mitch Kelly, F. Garry Lewter, Sheila J. Porter, Kim A. Saunders, James W. Shearn, Sonya Thomas Ashe, and Dennis M. Deloatch.

In the other race, Jimmy Mason and David Simons are candidates for the Soil and Water Supervisor. Voters can choose to write in candidates for these nonpartisan races.

For any questions, Hertford County voters can call the Board of Elections office at 252-358-7812.

With the exception of one race, all of the candidates for Northampton County offices are running unopposed. These open seats are for three county commissioners, the clerk of superior court, and sheriff.

Having defeated the incumbents in the primaries, Democrats Joyce V. Buffalo and Kelvin Edwards will seek the District 4 and District 5 Commissioner seats. In District 3, Republican Dennis L. Babb will run against Democrat Nicole J. Boone.

Laquitta Green Cooper is the candidate for clerk of superior court, and Jack Smith is the candidate for sheriff. Both are Democrats and incumbents in their offices.

The only nonpartisan race on Northampton’s ballot is for the Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor. Candidates on the ballot will be Gregory Harris and Mark McGee. Voters can also write in candidates for this race.

Northampton County citizens with questions can contact the Board of Election office at 252-534-1202.

Also included on all ballots across the state this year are six amendments to the North Carolina constitution. Citizens will be able to vote for or against the following amendments:

Constitutional amendment to protect the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife.

Constitutional amendment to strengthen protections for victims of crime, to establish certain absolute basic rights for victims, and to ensure the enforcement of these rights.

Constitutional amendment to reduce the income tax rate in North Carolina to a maximum allowable rate of seven percent.

Constitutional amendment to require voters to provide photo identification before voting in person.

Constitutional amendment to change the process for filling judicial vacancies that occur between judicial elections from a process in which the Governor has sole appointment power to a process in which the people of the State nominate individuals to fill vacancies by way of a commission comprised of appointees made by the judicial, executive, and legislative branches charged with making recommendations to the legislature as to which nominees are deemed qualified; then the legislature will recommend at least two nominees to the Governor via legislative action not subject to gubernatorial veto, and the Governor will appoint judges from among these nominees.

Constitutional amendment to establish an eight-member bipartisan Board of Ethics and Elections Enforcement in the Constitution to administer ethics and elections law.

The general election will be held on Tuesday, November 6. Polls will be open that day from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.