CARTERET COUNTY — Polls will open Tuesday at 28 sites in Carteret County, and many more across the 3rd Congressional District, as voters head out to make their choices in special election primary contests.
Polls are set to open at 6:30 a.m. and will remain open through 7:30 p.m. All voters in line by 7:30 p.m. will be allowed to cast a ballot.
One-stop early voting wrapped up Friday, despite the county previously advertising it would run through Saturday afternoon.
County Board of Elections Chairman Rick Heal told the News-Times that local elections staff learned in a phone call Friday morning the State Board of Elections had not approved Saturday one-stop hours.
“We had been running along for weeks and nothing had been said. We are now in compliance,” Mr. Heal said Friday morning.
Staff told the News-Times early Friday morning a miscommunication had occurred and the office believed the Saturday early voting session, set for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., was approved. Mr. Heal could not confirm Friday where and when the lapse in communication had occurred.
Staff said the state board cited a 2017 law change that eliminated the Saturday voting hours.
Mr. Heal said county staff made the local board aware of the error, contacted local media and posted signs Saturday at the two early voting facilities in Carteret County to make voters aware they would not be able to cast a ballot that day as previously advertised.
“Unfortunately there are going to be some that are not able to vote tomorrow,” Mr. Heal said Friday, “but they will have ample opportunity to vote on Tuesday.”
Tuesday’s primaries were called as part of the Tuesday, July 9 special election needed following the Feb. 10 death of Rep. Walter Jones Jr. The longtime Republican congressman represented much of eastern North Carolina in Congress for more than two decades.
On the Republican ballot are 17 candidates vying for the nomination, including some newcomers, a past primary challenger of Rep. Jones, state representatives and more. Six Democrats are also running in a primary, along with two Libertarian hopefuls. A single Constitutional Party candidate filed, as well.
Given the large candidate field, officials have said a runoff is likely, triggered if no candidate in a given contest obtains at least 30% of the vote.
Should a second primary be called, it would be July 9, bumping the special election for the seat to September.
Turnout for early voting proved slow. As of Thursday afternoon, just 2,329 of the county’s approximately 50,000 registered voters had cast a ballot.
“I’m really concerned about the low turnabout. Very, very concerned. I realize we had a hurricane, I realize we have all kinds of things going on … but I am concerned the voter turnout has been so low – in all the counties, not just Carteret,” Mr. Heal told the News-Times Saturday.
Voters will not need to present a photo ID to cast a ballot Tuesday. Curbside voting will be available.
To find your polling place, see the included list in today’s edition or call the County Board of Elections at 252-728-8460.
The following is a list of candidates appearing on primary ballots for Tuesday’s election. Each candidate is listed with the hometown used on candidate filing paperwork.
U.S. House, District 3, Republican Party:
• Phil Law of Jacksonville
• Michele Nix of Kinston
• Michael Speciale of New Bern
• Greg Murphy of Greenville
• Gary Ceres of Greenville
• Chimer Davis Clark Jr. of Morehead City
• Graham Boyd of Wake Forest
• Celeste Cairns of Emerald Isle
• Phil Shepard of Jacksonville
• Paul Beaumont of Shawboro
• Jeff Moore of Raleigh
• Joan Perry of Kinston
• Kevin Baiko of Moyock
• Francis X. De Luca of Cary
• Eric Rouse of Kinston
• Don Cox of Belhaven
• Mike Payment of Grandy
U.S. House, District 3, Democratic Party:
• Ike Johnson of Jacksonville
• Dana E. Outlaw of New Bern
• Richard Bew of Newport
• Ernest T. Reeves of Greenville
• Gregory Humphrey of Beulaville
• Allen Thomas of Winterville
U.S. House, District 3, Libertarian Party:
• Shannon Bray of Apex
• Tim Harris of New Bern
Contact Jackie Starkey at 252-726-7081, ext. 225; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or follow on Twitter @jackieccnt.