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Early voting in municipal elections start today

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Tony McQueen brings voting equiptment into the Community Schools and Recreation Center at Alice F. Keene Park on Wednesday Oct. 18, 2017. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)


By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Early voting for the 2017 municipal elections in Pitt County begins today, giving residents the opportunity to select local leaders who will decide which streets get paved and the cost of garbage pickup.

Nine of the county’s 10 municipalities are holding elections this year. The town of Falkland’s mayor and three town commissioners serve four-year terms and aren’t on this year’s ballot.

Voters may cast ballots from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays at Alice F. Keene Park, 4561 County Home Road, through Nov. 3. Four more sites will open with the same hours from Oct. 31-Nov. 3. These sites are located at the Pitt County Agricultural Center, 403 Government Circle; PATS Conference Room, County Office Building, 1717 W. Fifth St.; East Carolina University Willis Building, 300 E. First St.; and Winterville Fire Station Community Room, 2593 Railroad St., Winterville.

All the sites will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4. Election day is Nov. 7.

Turnout for municipal elections traditionally is low, and it appears the trend is continuing based on the interest in absentee ballots.

Pitt County Elections Director Dave Davis reported that as of Oct. 13 only 128 absentee ballots had been sent out, versus 175 by the same date in 2015. Only 15 absentee ballots had been returned as of Oct. 13, verus 96 on the same day in 2015, Davis said.

In the last 10 years, the highest turnout was 18.34 percent in 2011 and the low was 15.7 percent in 2013. Turnout for last year’s presidential election was 66 percent.

Photo identification is not required to vote, Davis said. Voters just need to give their name and Pitt County address.

However, first-time voters who did not provide their driver’s license number or last four digits of their Social Security number when they originally registered may need to present ID, as required under the federal 2002 Help America Vote Act.

People who are not registered to vote in Pitt County may register and vote on the same day during the early voting period, but not on Election Day.

People who want to vote and register on the same day are required to show a document that lists their current name and address in the county.

Among acceptable documents are a current and valid N.C. driver license or identification card, a photo ID from a government agency and a document that shows the person’s name and current address such as a utility bill, private bank statement or property tax statement issued by a government agency.

Information about other acceptable documents is available at www.pittcountync.gov/163/Elections “2017 Municipal Election Information.”

Below is a listing of races on each municipal ballot.

 Ayden: Contested races for Ward 3, Ward 4 and Ward 5.

 Bethel: Uncontested mayoral race, five candidates for five commissioner seats.

 Farmville: Contested mayoral race, four candidates running for two commissioner seats.

■ Fountain: Uncontested mayoral race, three candidates running for three commissioner seats.

■ Greenville: Contested mayoral race; uncontested race for District 2, contested races for at-large, District 1, District 3, District 4 and District 5 seats.

■ Grifton: Contested mayoral race; three candidates for two commissioner seats. A mixed beverage referendum also is on the ballot.

■ Grimesland: Seven candidates for five alderman seats.

■ Simpson: Contested mayoral race, three candidates for three council seats.

■ Winterville: Contested mayoral race, three candidates for two council seats and three candidates for a special election for one seat.

Also on the ballot is the race for the Candlewick Area Sanitary District Board which oversees the efforts to obtain funding for and install sewer lines in the Candlewick neighborhood. Voters in that community must select three board members. However, this year only one person filed — Earl Wade. The remaining two spots will be filled through the write-in process.

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570. Follow her on Twitter @GingerLGDR.