11/07/05 — Voters across county prepare for Tuesday decision

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Voters across county prepare for Tuesday decision

By Turner Walston
Published in News on November 7, 2005 1:50 PM

Citizens of five Wayne County townships will elect municipal officials Tuesday.

Polls will be open for residents of Mount Olive, Pikeville, Eureka, Seven Springs and Walnut Creek beginning at 6:30 a.m. and continuing until 7:30 p.m.

In addition to the mayoral and town board elections, voters also will choose representatives for sanitary district board seats in the Belfast-Patetown, Eastern Wayne, Fork, Southeastern Wayne and Southern Wayne districts.

Wayne County Board of Elections director Gary Sims said he is hoping for a better-than-average voter turnout.

"For a municipal election, 50 percent is great turnout," Sims said, "But I want everyone in the county that's eligible to vote."

Sims said he expects turnout numbers to be similar to municipal elections in 2003. "Usually, it doesn't really matter what's on the ballot, you're going to have about an average turnout," he said.

Roughly 25 percent of more than 400 eligible voters turned out in Pikeville in 2003. Sims said the beer and wine referendum on the ballot this year could increase voter interest this year.

"They're guessing between 60 and 70 percent. I'm guessing maybe 50 percent because we've not had much turnout in the early voting," Sims said. "If people were really, really hot and heavy about it, I would have expected higher turnout during the early voting."

Out of about 2,500 eligible voters in Mount Olive, slightly more than 870 voted in 2003, for about 35 percent. That number could be higher this year, with every seat contested.

Voter turnout in Walnut Creek has historically been low (around 10 percent in 2003), but Sims said one-stop polling has been very popular among Walnut Creek voters this year.

"I'm hoping we'll at least hit an average number of voters there," he said.

About 25 percent of eligible voters participated in Eureka in 2003. As no candidates filed to run this year, voters will write in their choices for mayor and two seats on the town's board of commissioners.

Seven Springs usually has about 50 percent voter turnout. "You've got a small-town atmosphere," Sims said. "People will typically turn out and vote."

Sims said sanitary district election turnout is usually very low.

"Sanitary districts are where it gets really disappointing on the numbers," he said. "Out of right at 7,000 qualified voters, we had just over 100 throughout the county last time."

Sims said it is not unusual to have only about 5 percent turnout for sanitary district elections. "In some cases, that's good turnout," he said.

Sims said one-stop voting, implemented at Wayne County sites in 2000, is contributing to higher turnouts in recent years. He said voter turnout had increased by as much as 15 percent since early voting at polling places began. The 2004 election illustrated this upturn.

"Over 50 percent of the people that voted in the presidential election actually voted early," Sims said. "That tells me that there's a good chance that some of these people wouldn't have voted on Election Day."

Still, Sims said, "if people aren't interested, you're just not going to have turnout. I hate that controversy brings people to vote as opposed to electing people."

Sims said persons who are not sure if they have elections tomorrow should call the Board of Elections before they waste a trip. "Only about half the county is even eligible to vote," he said. "If you live in Goldsboro city limits, you're not going to be having elections."

Precinct 1 - Fremont Fire Station

Precinct 2 - Eureka United Methodist Church

Precinct 3 - Little River Fire Station

Precinct 4 - Pikeville Fire Station

Precinct 5 - Belfast Fire Station

Precinct 6 - Saulston

Precinct 7 - New Hope

Precinct 8 - Oakland

Precinct 9 - Westwood United Methodist Church

Precinct 12 - Family Y

Precinct 13 - Oak Forest Road

Precinct 14 - New Hope Friends Church

Precinct 15 - Spring Creek High School

Precinct 16- American Legion Post 11

Precinct 23 - Goldsboro Wesleyan Church

Precinct 25 - Mount Olive Civic Center

Precinct 26 - Dudley Fire Station

Precinct 27 - Brogden Middle School

Precinct 28 - Indian Springs Fire Department

Precinct 30 - Southern Academy