Candidates pleased with early voting turnout
By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector
Tuesday, July 2, 2019
The two candidates seeking the GOP nomination in the 3rd Congressional District special election said they are pleased with the voter turnout in the second primary, even though fewer than 8,000 people have cast ballots since early voting began on June 19.
The N.C. State Board of Elections recorded 7,363 early votes had been cast in the second Republican primary as of early Monday afternoon. When civilian, military and overseas absentee ballots are added to the count, the total number of ballots is increased to 7,516, according to data providing by the state elections board. That is 2.4 percent of the 307,978 voters eligible to vote in the second primary.
All registered Republicans in the 3rd Congressional District are eligible to vote in the second primary. Unaffiliated voters in the district who did not vote in either the Democratic or Libertarian primary on April 30 also are eligible, according to the state elections board.
“We hope that many more eligible voters will exercise their right to vote during the remainder of the early voting period and on Election Day,” said Patrick Gannon, spokesman for the state elections board. Eligible voters can view their sample ballots for the second primary at https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/. One-stop early voting sites are available there.
The Pitt County early voting site is the center at Alice Keene Park, 4561 County Home Road.
“There are actually more Republican primary voters at this point than there were at the same time in the April 30 Republican election,” said state Rep. Greg Murphy, a Greenville urologist and surgeon. “Realistically, you don’t expect very high turnout with only one question on the ballot.”
“We’re excited that the turnout is higher than it was in the first primary, particularly because women voters have increased their participation,” said Dr. Joan Perry, a Kinston pediatrician. “We believe higher turnout is important to show the district is excited about sending a strong, conservative political outsider to Washington.”
Murphy said he is finding voters he meets and talks with are very informed and are studying the candidates.
“I’m never reluctant to put power in the hands of the people and they will choose the person who best represents their values,” he said.
Early voting in the Republican primary ends on Friday. In Pitt, Craven and Dare counties, the early voting hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In the remaining 14 counties, including Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Pasquotank and Perquimans, the hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Pitt County has had the largest number of early voters, 1,735 as of 1:30 p.m. Monday, followed by Craven County, which has had 1,010 voters turn out.
All early voting sites in the 17 eastern North Carolina counties in the 3rd Congressional District will be closed on Thursday because of Fourth of July celebrations. While election officials will have the day off, the candidates said they will continue meeting with constituents.
Perry said she plans to be at several parades and patriotic events. Her campaign also will continues its door-to-door and phone bank efforts.
“With growing momentum from volunteers across the district, we will be having our biggest grassroots activities this last week before the runoff election,” she said.
“We have referred to my campaign as the ‘We the People Campaign’ and in the previous election, as in this runoff, it has been a very grassroots effort,” Murphy said. “One-on-one voter contact has been a key and will continue to be through Election Day.”
The winner of the July 9 primary will face Democrat Allen Thomas and third-party candidates on Sept. 10.