07/18/04 — Voters to go to polls Tuesday for primaries

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Voters to go to polls Tuesday for primaries

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on July 18, 2004 2:18 AM

Summer-time and the voting is easy. Few, if any, lines are expected during Tuesday's primary for county, state and national elections.

Polling places will open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.

Wayne County Elections Director Gary Sims was preparing Friday for a much heavier turnout than he was expecting.

"Across the state, elections officials are seeing very little interest," Sims said.

Generally, voting is most intense in years with presidential and gubernatorial races, but North Carolina had to delay its primary from May because of legal questions about its General Assembly districts.

Now the Democrats and Republicans have already picked their presidential nominees and their nominees for senator don't have strong challengers in the primaries.

The six-candidate GOP race for governor is likely headed to a runoff before the winner faces Gov. Mike Easley in the fall.

Wayne County has 58,570 people eligible to vote, although more than 800 had already voted via the one-stop centers as of Friday morning.

Both Democrats and Republicans will choose among their own candidates. Unaffiliated voters can choose to vote for either party's ballot.

All voters can choose from four candidates for the N.C. Court of Appeals.

Those who live in the 1st Congressional District will be getting two ballots at the primary.

The first is to vote for a successor for former U.S. Rep. Frank Ballance, who resigned June 8 for health reasons. The candidates are Democrat G.K. Butterfield, a former N.C. Supreme Court justice; Republican Greg Dority, a Washington, N.C., businessman; and Libertarian Tom Eisenmenger, a teacher at Chowan College. The winner will finish Ballance's term which ends in December.

The other ballots for the race are to determine who will be the Republican and Democrat nominees to run in the general election in November.

The 1st district includes 15 Wayne County precincts.

The only voters in the district who cannot vote in the special election are 17-year-olds who are eligible to vote in the primary election. Sims said that applies to 54 registered voters who will turn 18 by Nov. 2.

The only Wayne County race in the Democratic primary is for the office of Register of Deeds. John Chance, who was appointed to the office last November, faces a challenge from Lois J. Mooring, who works in the clerk of court office.

A handful of Wayne County precincts are in the N.C. House's 10th District, where incumbent Rep. Stephen LaRoque of Kinston faces a challenge from fellow Republican Willie Ray Starling of Indian Springs Road.

For more election information, call the Wayne County Board of Elections at 731-1411 or go to www.waynegov.com/boe.