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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.

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