2,233 vote early in 3rd District race


By Chris Day
Multimedia Editor

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

On Wednesday, voters in the long walk to elect a successor to the late Congressman Walter B. Jones got a little closer to the finish line.

Wednesday marked the first day of early voting for the Sept. 10 special election to elect Jones’ successor in the N.C. 3rd Congressional District, a seat the Pitt County Republican held from 1994 until his death in February.

Total turnout in the 17-county 3rd Congressional District was more than 2,200 as of 5:30 p.m., according to the State Board of Elections. That figure did not include voter turnout numbers from Pamlico County, however.

Of the 17 counties, Pitt County — as it did during the party primary elections — reported the highest number of ballots cast with 515. Craven and Carteret counties were second and third, respectively, with 395 and 394 ballots. Much of the 3rd District’s population and voters are concentrated in Carteret, Craven, Onslow and Pitt counties.

In Pasquotank County, first-day voter turnout was better than the first day of early voting in the April primaries.

Kelli Price, the county’s Board of Elections director, said around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday that 95 voters had already cast their ballots. That’s compared to 64 first-day early voters in the primaries held on April 30.

According to the State Board of Elections, the total number of ballots cast in Pasquotank County on Wednesday was 111. The total cast in neighboring counties were 62 in Perquimans; 60 in Chowan; 34 in Currituck; and 26 in Camden.

The four candidates on the ballot are Republican Greg Murphy, Democrat Allen Thomas, Constitution Party candidate Greg Holt and Libertarian candidate Tim Harris.

Murphy, who had to fend of fellow Republican Joan Perry in a second GOP primary on July 9, had the support of at least one Pasquotank voter on Wednesday. The man, who identified himself as a longtime Republican, said while he has voted across party lines when he agreed with opposing candidates, he did vote for Murphy on Wednesday.

“I just think he follows the issues a little better,” said the man, who retired in the early 1990s after 30 years of service from the military. “I voted for him in the primary.”

The U.S. Air Force veteran said he rarely votes a straight-party ticket, particularly during local elections. He also said he’s not completely satisfied with the current presidential administration, but also believes not many people are. Many voters are tired of politics that sway too heavily left or right, he said.

Another voter leaving the elections office declined to speak to a reporter, saying his vote was a “secret ballot.” Another woman outside the office said it was against her religion to vote. She said she there because she drove a friend who wanted to register to vote.

Meanwhile, at The Daily Advance’s Facebook page readers were asked about the special election. The question introduced the four candidates and then asked the following:

"Using the examples below, how would you describe your enthusiasm for this election?

• It's important, I will vote/have voted.

• Not so important, maybe I'll vote.

• I'm not voting.

• I don't live in the 3rd Congressional District.

By 5:30 p.m. 11 people had responded and many expressed their enthusiasm for the election. Their responses were as follows:

“Its very important, I have voted.”

“Have voted.”

“It's important, I voted.”

“All elections are important.”

“Voted today.”

One reader expressed her support for the Democrat candidate. "Allen Thomas ... BLUE," she commented.

Three more people responded, “It's important, I will vote.”

Most of the region’s boards of elections will be open for early voting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays during the early voting period, which ends Friday, Sept. 6. Currituck County will offer an extra hour of early voting on the last two days of early voting. The county’s board of elections will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 5-6.

All boards of elections will be closed on Monday, Sept. 2, for the Labor Day holiday. Early voting locations for the five counties are listed below.

• Pasquotank: 1409 Parkview Drive, Elizabeth City

• Camden: 117 N.C. Highway 343 Highway North, Camden

• Chowan: 730 N. Granville St., Edenton

• Currituck: 2811 Caratoke Highway, Currituck

• Perquimans: 601A S. Edenton Road St., Hertford.