05/04/08 — Large turnout expected Tuesday

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Large turnout expected Tuesday

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on May 4, 2008 2:00 AM

With one-stop voting ending on Saturday and all absentee ballots due back at the Wayne County Board of Elections office by 5 p.m. Monday, the stage is set for Tuesday's primary elections.

Voting will begin at 6:30 a.m. at all 30 of the county's polling stations and will end at 7:30 p.m.

Election officials are expecting turnout for the primaries, which feature races ranging from county commissioner, to state House and Senate, to governor and lieutenant governor, to the U.S. House and Senate and to the presidency, as well as a quarter-cent sales tax referendum, to be at or near all-time highs.

"The Wayne County Board of Elections is expecting a record turnout for the May 6 primary," county elections director Vickie Reed said last week. "The presidential candidates had already been decided before North Carolina's primary in 2004, so this year North Carolina will really play an important role in the selection of the next President of the United States.

"Our voters are aware of this and we will see that reflected at the polls."

Already numbers have run strong for the absentee and one-stop voting.

As of Friday, the last day numbers were available from the county elections office, approximately 6,166 ballots have been given to voters either through the traditional absentee process or at the one-stop site at the Wayne County Public Library's Goldsboro Branch.

All total, there could be more than 63,500 ballots handed for the primaries -- with approximately 32,000 Democrat, 20,800 Republican and 10,600 unaffiliated voters registered in Wayne County.

Of those, more than 2,930 have registered since Jan. 1, with about 350 taking advantage of the new one-stop same-day registration rules. And of those, Democrats have outpaced Republicans nearly three to one, with slightly more unaffiliateds than Republican also registering. No registrations will be accepted on Tuesday.

One important thing to remember, though, is that voters will be given the ballot style assigned to their party affiliation. Unaffiliated voters must request which style they want, otherwise they will receive an unaffiliated ballot, which will only feature unaffiliated races such as the judicial contests.

Another reminder, is that for voters in Precincts 15 and 22, the polling places have moved -- from Spring Creek High School for 15 to Seven Springs Baptist Chuch, and from Greenwood Middle School for 22 to Faith Alliance Church.

So far, Ms. Reed said, all has gone smoothly.

"All machines are ready to go, have been tested and Wayne County Board of Elections has successfully completed our mock election," she said.

She hopes everything will go as well Tuesday.

Results for the races will be posted in the board room at the elections office on 209 S. William St.

They also will be online at the county's Web site, www.waynegov.com/boe and at the state's Web site www.sboe.state.nc.us.

Results won't be official, though, until after canvass, which will be held at 11 a.m., May 13.

Then at that point, any recount requests must be made by eligible candidates by 5 p.m., May 14.

Runoffs -- possibilities in any race with three or more candidates -- must then be requested by eligible candidates by noon, May 15.

To qualify for a runoff, a result that some observers and candidates have predicted in the state Senate District 5 and possibly in the Democrat's county commission at-large races, no candidate can have more than 40 percent of the total vote.