By the time you read this editorial, there will be less than three full days remaining for those who’ve not registered to vote in this May’s primary to do so, and the same amount of time for those who wish to change their party affiliation or any other voter registration information.
Friday, April 11, at 5 p.m. to be exact, is when the registration period closes, meaning that if you’ve failed to go by the Board of Elections by that time, or actually just a few minutes before, then you won’t have a chance to cast your ballot in the all-important May 6 primary.
Thousands upon thousands of Sampson County residents are already registered, but sadly there are thousands more who have yet to cast a ballot, allowing their voice to be heard in the decisions that are made on the local, state and national level.
There’s still time for those who’ve always chosen to remain on the election sidelines to get in the game, but procrastination needs to stop now and action needs to begin.
While forms can be picked up from local libraries, as close as the deadline is now, it is our recommendation, and that of the Sampson County Board of Elections staff, that those who would like to register do so at the elections office on Rowan Road to ensure the information is in their hands by the 5 p.m. cutoff time.
Why register, some will ask, fed up with the system, fed up with politics and fed up with what they believe is a system in which they can really have no say.
We would disagree. Registering to vote and, just as importantly casting a ballot in the primary and later in the general election gives you a say in the direction our county, our state and even our nation will go. Staying home and doing nothing ensures you have no voice, and while you have an opinion that can be expressed, we believe expressing that opinion by casting a ballot carries far more weight and actually makes you part of the process.
This May affords voters an opportunity to reshape our county, particularly given that the face of the Sampson County Board of Commissioners will change next December, no matter who is elected to serve. In the Democratic primary, folks in Dist. 5 have the opportunity to decide between incumbent Albert Kirby and newcomer Eugene Pearsall. Democrats, and Independents choosing to vote that primary ticket, will also decide whether Freddie Butler or David Kidd will run against incumbent Republican sheriff Jimmy Thornton in the fall. Republicans in the northern part of Sampson, in Dist. 1, will determine that commissioner’s spot between two newcomers, Clark Wooten and Danny Jackson, and many in Sampson will have the opportunity to choose between two GOP candidates —Woody White or David Rouzer — for the Dist. 7 congressional seat currently held by Mike McIntrye. And all Sampson County voters will have a say in an alcohol referendum that will be on the ballot — the choice between allowing alcohol and fortified wine to be sold in stores across the county or not.
Anyone who doesn’t think their vote can make a difference needs to look closely at the decisions they could have an impact on should they cast a ballot.
The only way to truly not make a difference is to sit back and do nothing.
Time to register is drawing to a close quickly. Friday will be here before you know it. So act now — go to the Board of Elections and register. We honestly believe you’ll be glad you took the time to do so.