03/02/08 — Political races set

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Political races set

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on March 2, 2008 2:01 AM

With filing for the May 6 primaries ending on Friday, Wayne County Board of Elections Director Vickie Reed is already beginning to look toward the next step and the beginning of absentee voting.

"I think it went well," she said. "We pretty well had all the information in all the packets and went through it with them."

Now all the candidates' names and paperwork will be sent to the state Board of Elections office in Raleigh for approval before the ballots go to the printers -- likely within a couple weeks.

Voters can begin requesting absentee ballots March 17.

But, Ms. Reed explained, before unafilliated voters ask for those, they need to decide which primary to participate in. Unaffiliated voters can vote in any primary -- Republican, Democrat or unaffiliated -- but they must request that ballot style.

"We need to emphasize for our unafilliated voters who are sending in absentee requests, they need to put down a party," she said.

If they don't, or if they request an unaffiliated ballot, they will only be eligible to vote in non-partisan primaries. The same will be true on Election Day.

Requesting one style or the other will not affect their unaffiliated status.

"This is only in order for them to vote for the president, the governor, the commissioners -- all the partisan offices. They have to put that in writing so we can send them the correct ballot for this May primary only," she said. "I don't want them to not get the whole ballot that they might require."

Voter registration for the May primary ends April 11. On April 17, early voting and same day registration begins. The last day to request an absentee ballot is April 29. The last day for early voting is May 3. All absentee ballots must be received by May 5.

Election Day will be May 6.

And between now and then, Ms. Reed said, there's a lot of work to be done.

"I certainly hope it (all goes well)," she said. "Everything gets hectic, but we've got a good team and we'll manage."

For non-partisan races -- school board, judicial seats and register of deeds -- primaries will be held only if three or more people file, with the top two moving on to November. For partisan races -- everything else -- primaries will be held only if two or more people file from each party, with the top vote-getters from each party moving on to November.

Along with the primaries, a quarter-cent sales tax referendum also will be on the ballot.