Deadline to register to vote in city elections nears


By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Time is running out to register to vote in the Elizabeth City City Council election on Oct. 10.

The deadline for normal voter registration is Sept. 15, according to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. However, voters may also use “same-day registration” during the early voting period that will run from Sept. 21 to Oct. 7.

City residents should register to vote by stopping by their county board of elections office, or simply mailing a voter registration application there. The Pasquotank County elections office at 1409 Parkview Drive covers almost all city residents, save for a handful of Camden residents who should register through the Camden office at 117 NC Highway 343 South.

Voters may also register at their election office during early voting, but must provide documentation showing they reside in the city. Per the SBE, that documentation includes any of the following: a North Carolina driver’s license, other government-issued photo ID, or a copy of a utility bill, bank statement or government document showing the voter’s name and address. For college students, they can provide university documentation showing their name and campus address, or a university photo ID, provided the institution has provided the elections office a housing roster.

While photo ID may be used to verify residency, it is not required to vote.

Residents not only need to be registered to vote, but need to know about who they could vote for. The Daily Advance newspaper is partnering with three local organizations to host a candidate forum on Sept. 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Pasquotank County Courthouse. The Advance is partnering with the Elizabeth City Area Chamber of Commerce, the Pasquotank County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the League of Women Voters of Northeastern North Carolina.

Similar to previous Daily Advance forums, the forum will allow candidates opening statements, pose questions about city issues to them, and allow some questions from the audience. Candidates will be asked to respond within time limits.

Both candidates for mayor, Sam Davis III and Pasquotank County commissioner Bettie Parker, have confirmed they’ll attend the forum, as have almost all of the city’s 15 candidates for eight council seats.

Notably, the public will also have a chance to hear from incumbent city councilors on Sept. 18. The city council agreed last week to hold a town hall meeting then, though details are still being finalized. Citizens will be free to address councilors about any city issue, but it’s likely utility billing problems will remain a major topic.

Unlike the candidate forum on Sept. 19, the council’s meeting may not provide equal time to challengers to sitting councilors. It will also allow commentary from incumbents who aren’t running for re-election. Those incumbents are Mayor Joe Peel, First Ward Councilors Jean Baker and Ray Donnelly, and Third Ward Councilor Michael Brooks.