08/23/06 — Early voting begins Thursday in District 10 race

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Early voting begins Thursday in District 10 race

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on August 23, 2006 1:53 PM

One-stop early voting begins Thursday in the race to decide the Republican candidate for the District 10 seat in the state House.

Although the new primary isn't until Sept. 12, eligible voters can choose between incumbent Rep. Stephen LaRoque and challenger Willie Ray Starling over the next two weeks.

Starling won the May primary by a slim 913-902 margin but the state Board of Elections ordered a second vote after it determined that some voters in Lenoir County were not given the proper ballots.

About 80 percent of the district's voters live in Lenoir. Four precincts in eastern Wayne -- Spring Creek, New Hope Friends Church, Dudley Fire Station and Indian Springs Fire Station -- are included in the district. It contains all of Greene County.

Only registered Republicans or unaffiliated voters that voted Republican in the May primary are eligible to cast ballots in the second election, said Wayne Elections Director Gary Sims.

One-stop early voting will continue each weekday until Sept. 8, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

All early voting ballots must be cast at the Wayne Board of Elections office at 209 S. William St.

The polls will also be open on Sept. 9, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Absentee ballots can be requested until Sept. 5. Those ballots must be returned to the Board of Elections office by 5 p.m. on Sept. 11.

The polls will be open Sept. 12 from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.

The winner of the election will face Democrat Van Braxton in November. Braxton, a former member of the Kinston City Council, had no opposition in the primary.

The canvass will be held on Sept. 15 and any recount must be submitted by 5 p.m. that date.

The state board upheld LaRoque's election protest earlier this month at a hearing in Kinston. The Lenoir Board of Elections had heard LaRoque's complaint in May and forwarded the case to the state board.

The state board unanimously agreed that poll workers didn't ask unaffiliated voters if they wanted to vote a Republican, Democrat or straight unaffiliated ticket, which is required by law, and those irregularities warranted a new primary.

Starling's lawyer argued that the votes would not have made enough of a difference to warrant a second election. The state board disagreed. It was the second election in which Starling has challenged LaRoque. LaRoque won by a wider margin two years ago.

For more information on voter eligibility, precinct information and other primary information, call the Wayne County Board of Elections at 731-1411.