Don’t know? Don’t care? Early turnout low as 2nd primary nears

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Submitted: Fri, 07/06/2012 - 2:42am
Updated: Fri, 07/06/2012 - 12:34pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Election Day is less than two weeks away. But don’t worry. If you did not know, you’re not alone.

The polling places are practically empty across southeastern North Carolina as voter turnout for our state’s second primary is extremely low. In Pender County, just 15 people have showed up for One-Stop Early Voting.

“It is very pitiful, numberwise,” Pender Co. Elections Director Dennis Boyles said. “People don’t have the right to complain if they don’t get out and vote.”

Boyles says the turnout is typically low when races are not local.

The low numbers are not just in Pender County. As of Thursday afternoon, in Columbus County, 20 people have come in for One-Stop voting, and 12 absentee ballots have been mailed in. In Bladen County, 21 folks visited the polls, while 22 people mailed their votes in. In Brunswick County, 21 voters cast their ballots in person, while 51 mailed theirs in. And in New Hanover County, 40 voters stopped by the polls, and 61 mailed in their ballots.

Lt. Governor candidate Dan Forest stopped by the Port City Thursday not only to campaign but to remind folks about the election.

“I don’t think it’s apathy,” Forest, the leading Republican vote-getter in May’s primary, said. “I just don’t think people are paying attention to an election in the middle of the summer.”

Boyles said he has to set up for 100 percent voter turnout even if only two percent show up.

“It’s your tax dollars,” Boyles said. “We are actually spending it, and if you don’t come out…”

“It’s like your vote counts ten times in this election,” Forest said.

Boyles said Pender County typically spends between $12,000 and $15,000 in tax money per election.

Early voting for the second primary ends July 14. Election Day is July 17.


  • Guest2020 says:

    You’re right. The first amendment doesn’t guarantee the freedom of speech, only if you vote. Also, there are people, for various reasons, including age, who are not eligible to vote and they have a right to speak.

  • Besty_Guesty says:

    Rather than trying to guilt people into voting, consider explaining the importance of this election and voting in general to encourage people to vote. Perhaps the low turnout speaks more to the opinion that government is out of control, has rigged the process, and that an individual vote may have little impact on the direction of government.

    Unless you have acquired new powers not delineated in law, the right to speak openly, commend, or complain, whether someone votes or not, can not be abridged by your opinions, Mr Boyles.

  • frontpaige says:

    Have your say and join the process that runs your life.

  • Chalmeta Evans says:

    Thanks for the information about voting. I was unaware of the early voting. There are no advertising for the voting.

  • Guest2020 says:

    It would be nice if they would also inform the locals as to what they would be voting for.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    to run these elections; and yet can not post the dates, time, or location for early voting.

  • Guest28425 says:

    It appears you have no idea of what’s happening beyond your Tv set. Elections are posted weeks in advance of Early Voting. Newspapers across the state including the local newspapers have been running notices, even the county website has a notce of this election. Check out SEE WHAT”S HAPPENING AROUND THE COUNTY

  • Guest1118 says:

    If WWAY, both on line and on air, could have informed voters about WHO is in the second primary. I think that the turnout is higher in the 3 areas of the state with Congressional run offs in addition to the Council of State races. Here are the Council of State races:

    Lt. Governor (GOP): Dan Forest or Tony Gurley

    Sec. of State: (GOP) Ed Goodwin or Kenn Gardner

    Insurance Commissioner: (GOP) Mike Causey or Richard Morgan

    Super. of Schools (GOP): John Tedesco or Richard Alexander

    All these candidates are on Facebook and/or have on line profiles.

  • Guest1118 says:

    I think that one of the next things the general assembly needs to take up is to eliminate early voting in a 2nd primary (run off). Millions could be saved state-wide.

    In New Hanover early voting is ONLY at the government center behind Home Depot and Gold’s Gym, M-F through next week 9-5. They’re not open this Sat. (tomorrow) but will have one last early day on 7/14/12, from 9-12 (check on time, it might be until 3pm).

    Election day is 7/17/12 and polls are open from 6 a.m.-7:30 p.m., all precincts. Those of you in other counties call your county BOE or look at their website.

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