County mirrored most state results
By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 9, 2012 1:46 PM
A third of Wayne County's 71,092 registered voters went to the polls in Tuesday's primary for the most part following statewide voting trends.
According to unofficial results, 23,234 ballots (32.68 percent) were cast in the county compared to 34.37 statewide.
All returns are unofficial until the canvass on May 15.
Overall, the election went smoothly, but several problems were reported during the day. There were computer malfunctions at polling locations in Mount Olive and at the Woodmen of the Word building at Belfast, and a printer ran out of ink at the Pikeville/Pleasant Grove Fire Station.
Wayne County Board of Elections Director Vickie Reed said she was aware of the problems, but could not make specific comments since she had not finished reading the incident reports.
"We are gathering information," she said. "I think they were moderate (problems) because no one called in desperate. They are trained and have backup paperwork. I think that for the first time having all 30 precincts on a new (computer) system things went fairly well. I am very proud of them."
She said it was her understanding that voters affected by the problems were sympathetic and patient as poll workers tried to get them their ballots. She said she and staff members were out all day traveling from polling site to polling site.
Ms. Reed called the almost 33 percent turnout "good" for a primary.
"A lot of the feedback that I got while out in the county is that the constitutional amendment brought out a lot of voters, and of course municipal elections in Mount Olive and Fremont, especially Mount Olive," she said.
There were no surprises in the presidential races locally or on the state level.
President Barack Obama received 7,464 votes in the county (72.89 percent) to win the Democratic nomination. Another 2,776 (27.11 percent) had no preference. Statewide Obama received 759,032 votes (79.2 percent) and 199,386 voters (20.8 percent) had no preference.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney received 7,263 votes (71.07 percent) in Wayne County and statewide 634,718 (65.66 percent).
Wayne County Democrats bucked the state in the gubernatorial primary favoring Bob Ethridge over Walter Dalton, 5,788 votes (53.95 percent) to 3,731 (34.54 percent).
Statewide Dalton won the nomination with 425,051 votes (45.87 percent) to 352,242 (38.01 percent) for Ethridge.
In the Republican gubernatorial race, Pat McCrory received 7,417 votes (75.94 percent) in the county and 743,756 (83.45 percent) statewide to win the nomination.
Paul Wright of Mount Olive finished second with 46,970 votes (5.27 percent). A retired Superior Court judge, Wright also finished second in Wayne County with 1,733 votes (17.74 percent).
Wayne County also went with the state in approving the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Locally, 17,302 people (75.65 percent) voted in favor of the amendment, while 5,570 (24.35 percent) voted against it. Statewide the approval rate was not as high with 1,303,952 votes (61.05 percent) for it and 831,788 (38.95 percent) against the amendment.