Early voting chance ends on Saturday

Staff report

LUMBERTON — Robeson County residents who don’t want to take a chance of long lines to vote on Tuesday have Friday and Saturday to cast their ballots during One-Stop Voting.

After that, Tuesday is their only opportunity to have a say in the May primary.

A lot of people have already done so, with three local precincts among the top 10 in all of North Carolina for ballots cast through Tuesday.

According to Carolinatransparency.com, through Tuesday, the last day it was updated, 6,630 Robeson County voters had cast ballots, surpassing the 4,710 who voted early during the 2014 May primary, the last time there was a sheriff’s race.

During the entire 2014 primary, about 15,200 votes were cast total during the entire primary.

Phillip Stephens, chairman of the county Republican Party, believes that number will be easily surpassed this year, citing what he has called a “contentious” sheriff’s race with five candidates. He has noted that it is the first time since 1994 an incumbent sheriff has not been in the field, and is predicting 18,000 to 20,000 total votes when they are all counted.

According to Carolinatransparency.com, about 39 percent of the ballots have been cast by African Americans, 30 percent by whites and 28 percent by American Indians. About 41 percent of the county’s resident at American Indian, 31 percent white, and 24 percent African American.

Fifty-nine percent of the ballots cast locally through Tuesday had been by women.

Three local precincts, Fairmont, Lumberton No. 1, and Red Springs rank in the top 10 in the state among the busiest precincts, with Fairmont second, Lumberton No.1 ranked third, and Red Springs ranked 10th.

Ballots can be cast Friday at the Board of Elections and five satellite sites scattered throughout the county, but on Saturday only at the elections headquarters, which is at 800 N. Elm St. in Lumberton.

The satellite sites are the Fairmont Fire Hall and Senior Citizen Center at 421 S. Main St. in Fairmont; Gilbert Patterson Library at 210 Florence St. in Maxton; Pembroke Library at 413 Blaine St. in Pembroke; Red Springs Community Center at 122 Cross St. in Red Springs; and the St. Pauls Town Hall at 210 W. Blue St. in St. Pauls. Ballots can be cast at those sites from 8:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.

Ballots can be cast at the Board of Elections from 8:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Friday and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

The turnout is being driven by an inviting menu of local races, including the five candidates for sheriff, three for district attorney, 14 for four seats on the Board of Education for the Public Schools of Robeson County, and eight for three competitive seats on the Board of Commissioners. There also are competitive races for the General Assembly and U.S. House of Representatives.

The 13-day early voting period started on April 19.

Staff report