Dist. 2 early voting slow so far

First Posted: 7/9/2014

LUMBERTON — Early voting for next Tuesday’s run-off election for the District 2 seat on the Robeson County Board of Commissioners is going slow.

As of Tuesday, only 175 ballots had been cast in the Democratic primary run-off race between incumbent Commissioner Hubert Sealey and Berlester Campbell, a former county commissioner. The early voting period began July 3 and continues through 1 p.m. Saturday.

Only voters in the 12 precincts making up District 2 can take part in the election. The commissioners race is the only contest on the ballot.

According to Dinah Jo Locklear, senior deputy of elections for the county BOE, as of May 8 there were 9,793 voters eligible to vote in Tuesday’s run-off. Any properly registered Democrat residing in District 2 can vote in the election even if that person did not vote in the Democratic primary on May 6. Any registered unaffiliated voter who voted Democrat in the May 6 primary can also participate in deciding the outcome of Tuesday’s election.

Since there is no Republican run-off, no registered Republicans can participate in this election.

Ballots in the race between Sealey and Campbell can be cast only at the Robeson County Board of Elections office on North Walnut Street in downtown Lumberton. The poll will be open today through Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. The poll will also be open from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

G.L. Pridgen, director of the Robeson County Board of Elections, said Tuesday that so far early voting has been running smoothly.

“We have received no complaints from any of the candidates or voters,” he said.

Pridgen, who has only been director of the BOE for a few months, said he does not have enough background on second primary elections in Robeson County to say if the early voting turnout so far is high for a run-off election.

“I’m not sure if you can say this is a good turnout or not,” he said. “Some with more experience in past elections say the turnout is good.”

Pridgen, however, said in an earlier conversation with The Robesonian that if past history is any indication there won’t be a large amount of voter participation in the run-off. He cited the 2010 second primary election for U.S. Senate between Democrats Elaine Marshall and Cal Cunningham to support his position.

“There were 61,000 Robeson County Democrats eligible to vote in the election and only 1,540 voted,” Pridgen said. “That’s less than 3 percent that voted.”