LUMBERTON — Early voting for the May 6 primary election got off to a quick start today with close to 40 voters casting their ballots by 9 a.m. at the Board of Elections office in Lumberton.
Early voting sites were also open in Fairmont, Maxton and Pembroke, but The Robesonian was unable to get any information on how voting was going there.
“We’re off to a good start,” said Tina Bledsoe, an elections technician with the Board of Elections. “One voter actually danced up to the ballot box.”
Bledsoe said that when the doors to the polls opened at 8:15 a.m., there were already a few voters in line waiting to cast their ballots. She said so far, so good.
“We have had had no problems with candidates or campaign workers, and all of our equipment is working fine,” she said.
Through May 3, residents can cast their ballots for candidates seeking their parties’ nominations for the offices of county commissioner, sheriff, clerk of Superior Court, district attorney, judgeships, state senator, state representatives and the Public Schools of Robeson County Board of Education, which is non-partisan.
Four polling sites are open throughout the county in locations where G.L. Pridgen, director of the Robeson County Board of Elections, anticipates the heaviest voter turnout.
Voters can cast ballots at the Board of Elections Office at 800 N. Walnut St. in Lumberton; the senior center in Fairmont; and at the Maxton and Pembroke public libraries. A new law requires that all voters cast their ballots in the precinct where they live.
Polling sites and hours are as follows:
— Board of Elections office: Weekdays from 8:15 a.m to 5:15 p.m., and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 3, which is a Saturday.
— Fairmont, Maxton and Pembroke: Today, Friday, May 1 and May 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and on May 3 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Because of new election laws, voter registration no longer is permitted during early voting. The last day to register to vote was April 11.
In anticipation of a new law that takes effect in 2016, voters will be asked if they have a photo ID but will not be required to show it in order to vote, Pridgen said. Those who do not have a voter ID will be given information on how one can be obtained.
Voting on May 6 will take place from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Polling sites will be open in all of the county’s precincts.
According to Pridgen, there are 52,900 registered Democrats, 8,700 registered Republicans, and 12,700 registered unaffiliated voters, who can participate in either the Democratic or Republican primary. About 27 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the 2010 primary.