At nearly two dozen precincts across the county, Sampson voters will cast their ballots Tuesday for who they want to see in leadership positions by the end of 2016. While Tuesday’s primary will set the course for November’s Presidential Election, it will all but seal many local races well before that time.
Before Tuesday, 2,580 people in Sampson already cast their ballots at the Sampson County Board of Elections during the 1o-day early voting period. During that time, elections officials handed out 1,449 Democrat ballots, 1,123 Republican ballots and eight unaffiliated ballots.
“We had quite a few unaffiliated voters, but they chose either the Democrat or Republican ballot,” Sampson Board of Elections director Ashley Tew said Monday.
Of the early voters, the majority were white and female. According to numbers provided by Tew, early voters included 1,527 white, 978 black, 15 American Indian, six multi-racial, four Asian and 50 undesignated or other. The gender breakdown included 1,495 females, 1,073 males and 12 undesignated.
On Election Day, voting occurs at all 23 of Sampson County’s precincts in between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. and voters must vote in their proper precinct. A detailed list of precincts can be found at the Sampson County Board of Elections at www.sampsonnc.com (Board of Elections under departments tab).
Tew said there will be one minor change for the Kitty Fork precinct, due to issues within the National Guard Armory.
“Due to construction and high volumes of mold at the National Guard Armory, our board has decided to use the Sampson County Mobile Command Unit as the polling place for Kitty Fork,” Tew stated. “We will not change the polling place address, as the unit will be in the parking lot of the Armory.”
There will be new members on both the Clinton City Schools and Sampson County Schools Boards of Education, as just three incumbents have filed to fill six open seats — three on each board.
For the city school board, incumbents E.R. Mason and Jason C. Walters are seeking re-election, while newcomers Michael W. Lanier and Dana L. Scott are challenging.
With three terms set to expire in 2016, the county school board has five candidates vying for those open seats.
Incumbent E. Sonya McLaurin Powell filed for re-election. Others seeking a place on the county school board are Eugene Pearsall, Timothy (Tim) G. Register, Tracy Ivey Dunn and Patrick (Pat) Usher.
The District 2 Sampson County Board of Commissioners seat, currently held by board chairman Billy Lockamy, will be vacated by Lockamy at the end of the year. Lockamy has thrown his support behind Republican Jerol Kivett, with no else filing for the March 15 primary.
Commissioner Harry Parker, the Democrat who serves as District 4 representative, is seeking re-election. No one filed in opposition.
Rep. Larry M. Bell, who is seeking his ninth term serving N.C. House of Representatives District 21, will have competition, as he is facing off against Scotty L. Smith. N.C. House District 22 Rep. William Brisson has filed for re-election to his sixth term, with Ben Snyder opposing him.
Sampson County Register of Deeds Eleanor Bradshaw has filed for re-election, with no opposition, as has Sen. Brent Jackson for the State Senate, also unopposed.
N.C. District Court Judge District 4, which includes Sampson, Duplin, Jones and Onslow counties, includes two races. One race pits William (Billy) Sutton, Anita R. Powers and Paul Castle against each other for one seat, and Mario White, Nathan Sweet, Michael C. Surles and Kelly Neal against each other for another.
The top two recipients of votes in the primary, for both seats, will appear on the ballot in the November general election.
Also on the ballot is a $2 billion Connect NC Public Improvement Bond. Constituting general obligation bonds of the state, the issue would fund capital improvements and new facilities in 76 counties, including Sampson.
Those projects include the construction and furnishing of new facilities and the renovation and rehabilitation of existing facilities for the University of North Carolina System, the N.C. Community College System, water and sewer systems, the N.C. National Guard, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, attractions and parks and the Department of Public Safety.
The bond includes close to $4.8 million for new construction, repairs and renovations at Sampson Community College. For more on Connect NC, visit www.connect.nc.gov.
This is the first election in North Carolina with new voter identification rules. Beginning in 2016, most North Carolina voters will be required to show an acceptable photo ID when voting in person. In some cases, that ID can even be expired.
Voters who do not already have an acceptable ID can get one for free from the DMV. Other acceptable forms of photo ID include:
• N.C. driver’s license (can be expired up to 4 years)
• North Carolina ID card issued by DMV (can be expired up to 4 years)
• U.S. passport (must be unexpired)
• Military or Veterans ID (must be unexpired if it has a printed expiration date)
• Tribal ID from a federally or state recognized tribe (must be unexpired if it has a printed expiration date)
• Out-of-state driver’s license (only valid if voter registration occurred within 90 days of the election and license must be unexpired)
Voters over age 70 may present any acceptable photo ID that has been expired for any length of time, so long as the ID was valid on their 70th birthday.
Those who are unable to obtain an acceptable photo ID due to a reasonable impediment may still vote a provisional ballot at the polls. Examples of a reasonable impediment include lack of proper documents, family obligations, transportation problems, work schedule and illness or disability, according to state election officials.
The provisional ballot will be counted when the information on the declaration is verified and all other eligibility requirements are met.
For more information, visit the Sampson County Board of Elections at www.sampsonnc.com, (Board of Elections under departments tab) or contact the office at 910-592-5796.
Information used from the State Board of Elections. Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.