Early voting underway: 80 cast ballots in EC election on first day
By Reggie Ponder
Thursday, September 19, 2019
More than 80 voters cast ballots on the first day of early voting for the Oct. 8 city election in Elizabeth City.
By late afternoon on Wednesday, 79 of those ballots had been cast at the Pasquotank Board of Elections office. Two were cast at the Camden Board of Elections office. City voters who live on the portion of the Camden Causeway located in the city limits vote at the Camden election office during early voting.
Among those casting a ballot in Pasquotank was Third Ward resident Demetre Sylvester, 34. Sylvester was able to vote in one of only two contested races on the Oct. 8 city ballot — that for two seats involving incumbent Third Ward Councilors Rickey King and Kem Spence and challenger Michael Brooks, a former city councilor.
Sylvester declined to say which candidates he voted for, but he said he cares a lot about having recreation programs available for youth.
“They need something to do after school,” Sylvester said.
He is also concerned about his utility bill, he said. “The light bill, that’s kind of high,” he said.
The other contested race is in the city’s 2nd Ward, where incumbent Councilors Gabriel Adkins and Anita Hummer are facing a challenge from first-time candidate Chris Ruffieux.
James Lane, 78, voted in the 2nd Ward. He said he didn’t want to comment about which candidates he supported.
“I’d just like to see our city moving forward,” Lane said.
Also voting early on Wednesday was Willie Mae Overton, 80, who lives in the city’s 1st Ward.
Overton said she doesn’t see much value in write-in votes and was sticking with the incumbent councilors in the 1st Ward — Jeannie Young and Billy Caudle — and incumbent Mayor Bettie Parker, who are all running unopposed.
“A write-in stands less of a chance,” Overton said.
She said she believes it’s important for citizens to vote.
“A lot of people say they aren’t going to vote because they say, ‘they’re just going to do what they want to do anyway,’” Overton said. “They have that whole mentality. I say, ‘no, come and vote and voice your opinion about things.’”
Overton said she would like all the wards to have regular meetings — at least quarterly — to provide citizens a chance to talk about their concerns with their ward’s councilors without having to take up time at regular council meetings.
She said she’s not alone in wanting the ward meetings.
“A lot of people are saying they would like to have meetings in their own ward,” Overton.
Overton also said that as the city expands it’s becoming more important to have a way for citizens to get transportation to move around. She said taxis and the Inter-County Public Transportation Authority are available but she would like to see a citywide bus system with regular routes that citizens use.
“That would be accommodating to everybody,” Overton said.