10/16/06 — Information available for candidates for judge

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Information available for candidates for judge

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on October 16, 2006 1:45 PM

For many voters, most candidates for judicial offices are just another name on the ballot.

But election officials are trying to help change that and provide voters with the background they need to make an informed decision on Election Day.

Wayne County Board of Elections Director Gary Sims said the state Board of Elections has begun mailing basic candidate information to voters across the state, detailing judicial candidate's experience and providing a snapshot profile of the candidate. The state Elections Board is also making the information available on the Internet.

There will be a number of judicial races on the Nov. 7 ballot, including a contest to determine who will be the Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court.

The only local judicial race is non-competitive, with District Court Judge Beth Heath running unopposed.

In the race for chief justice, incumbent Sarah Parker faces a challenge from Rusty Duke. Ms. Parker of Charlotte has been serving as acting chief justice since February, when she was appointed to fill out the term of I. Beverly Lake, who retired. Previously, she served for 13 years on the state Court of Appeals.

She is being challenged by Duke, a Superior Court judge from Greenville.

Three Supreme Court associate justice seats will be on the ballot.

Rachel Lea Hunter, a Cary lawyer, is challenging incumbent Mark Martin. Martin has served as the senior associate justice for the past seven years, and he also served on the Court of Appeals and as a district court judge.

Patricia Timmons-Goodson has served on the state Supreme Court since being appointed in February. She is opposed by Eric Levinson, an associated justice on the state Court of Appeals.

In the third race for a Supreme Court seat, two members of the Court of Appeals are vying for a seat: Anne Marie Calabria and Robin Hudson.

Two Court of Appeals races will also be on the ballot. Kris Bailey and Bob Hunter are competing for one seat. Donna Stroud and Linda Stephens are campaigning for the other. Bailey is general counsel to state auditor Leslie Merritt and is a former district court judge. Hunter is an incumbent seeking another term in office. Stephens is an incumbent. Stroud is a district court judge in the 10th District.

All terms on the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals are for eight years.

For more information on judicial candidates, visit the state Board of Elections Web site at www.sboe.state.nc.us or the Wayne County Board of Elections Web site at www.waynegov.com/boe. Both sites have profiles of each judicial candidate. The sites also explain how to cast ballots using the new voting machines across the state, how to request and mark a provisional ballot and the rights and responsibilities of North Carolina voters.

Voters can begin casting their ballots as early as Thursday. One-stop voting begins at 8 a.m. Oct. 19 at the Wayne County Library at 1001 E. Ash St.

Registered voters can cast their ballots any week day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until the week before the Nov. 7 election. The last day for one-stop early voting is Nov. 4 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Any qualified voters may also vote by absentee ballot. Residents can request an absentee ballot in person or in writing to the Wayne County Board of Elections office at 209 S. William St., Goldsboro, N.C., 27530.

For more information, call the Wayne County Board of Elections at 731-1411.