LUMBERTON — Robeson County is off to a slow start in early voting for Tuesday’s runoff primary.
According to Dock Locklear, director of the county Board of Elections, as of Wednesday morning, 27 people had cast votes since early voting began on June 28 for the primary runoffs.
“That’s a little bit lighter than I expected,” Locklear said.
A runoff election is necessary when a candidate in a race does not win 40 percent of the vote in the regular primary, Locklear said.
There are four runoffs in Republican races, and a single one in Democratic races.
The headliner for Robeson County voters is the GOP race for District 8 in the U.S. House. Redistricting has put most of Robeson County in the district now represented by Larry Kissell, a Democrat who is awaiting his opponent in the November General Election. Republican voters will decide on Tuesday between either Richard Hudson, of Concord, or Scott Keadle, of Mooresville.
Other Republican races and candidates are: N.C. lieutenant governor: Dan Forest and Tony Gurley; N.C. Commissioner of Insurance, Richard Morgan and Mike Causey; N.C. Secretary of State, Kenn Gardner and Ed Goodwin; N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction, John Tedesco and Richard Alexander.
The only race in the Democratic Party is for N.C. Commissioner of Labor, which is between Marlowe Foster and John C. Brooks.
Early voting will continue through Saturday at the Board of Elections office in downtown Lumberton from 8:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. today and Friday, and from 8:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. on Saturday.
Polls will be open Tuesday from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at regular polling locations throughout the county.
Locklear predicts a “medium to light” turnout on Tuesday.
“If we vote 2,000, I will be lucky,” he said. “Normally, second primary or runoff they don’t come back and vote again. The voters just don’t covey up to a second runoff. There’s not much enthusiasm out there.”
All polling locations throughout the county will be open Tuesday. He estimated the cost to the county at about $17,000, half of a normal primary. He said the different is fewer poll workers will be needed.
According to Locklear, during the May primary, there were 6,187 votes cast during one-stop voting and absentee by mail and 18,409 votes cast in-person, for a total of 24,596 votes.
Locklear said county residents may register to vote during early voting for the runoff, but they cannot cast a ballot. State law doesn’t allow anyone who is not registered for the original primary to vote in a runoff.