LUMBERTON — Voting in Lumberton Precincts Nos. 6 and 7 has been heavy during early voting, which began on Thursday.
As of noon Tuesday, about 637 people had cast their ballots for the municipal elections in Fairmont; Lumber Bridge; Lumberton; Marietta; Maxton; McDonald; Orrum; Parkton; Pembroke; Proctorville; Raynham; Red Springs; Rennert; Rowland; and St. Pauls, according to Dock Locklear, director of the Robeson County Board of Elections.
Locklear said that 513 of those votes came on Thursday and Friday, the first two days of early voting, and most were cast in the hotly contested Lumberton precincts.
“It’s been kind of hectic,” said incumbent Precinct 7 Councilman Leon Maynor. “Everybody is going out and trying to get as many votes as they can.”
Maynor, who has held the Precinct 7 seat since 1995, is running against challengers Laura Sampson and Robert Paul Hunt.
Sampson said that she had been “very productive” during the early voting period.
Both Sampson and Maynor are visiting voters’ homes in their constituency. Maynor said they are paying particular interest to those in public housing.
“I’m just encouraging everyone to come out and vote and let their voices be heard,” Sampson said.
Early voting enables eligible voters to register and vote in the same day. While the voting period has been praised for its convenience and higher turnout, critics say that it allows for manipulation of the democratic process.
Sampson and Maynor take opposing sides on the issue.
“I think it is a good thing,” Sampson said, “because it gives people a chance to register and vote at one time.”
“I’m not a big advocate of one-stop voting,” Maynor said. “It’s not about the qualifications of the candidate, it’s about who can get votes off.”
Sampson ran unsuccessfully against Maynor in 2007 amid allegations of voter fraud and vote-buying. Maynor defeated Sampson in a special election, which was ordered by the state Board of Elections.
Locklear said it was typical to see a large turnout in the first few days of early voting and the traffic at the elections office was comparable to previous years.
“It usually tapers off after a few days,” Locklear said. “What will probably happen, if previous years are any indication, it’ll pick back up near the end of next week.”
There are 22,472 county voters eligible to vote during the municipal elections, according to Locklear.
One-stop voting period runs until Nov. 5. Absentee ballots may be requested until Nov. 1.
On election day, Nov. 8, the polls will open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.
Voters will elect council members in the following towns: Fairmont; Lumber Bridge; Lumberton; Marietta; Maxton; McDonald; Orrum; Parkton; Pembroke; Proctorville; Raynham; Red Springs; Rennert; Rowland; and St. Pauls.
The election will also determine the mayor in the following towns: Lumberton; Marietta; McDonald; Maxton; Orrum; Parkton; Pembroke; Proctorville; Raynham; Red Springs; Rowland; and St. Pauls.
For information about how to register or your polling place, visit www.sboe.state.nc.us or call the Robeson County Board of Elections at (910) 671-3080.