Wake County Schools

Wake early voting nearly doubles early turnout in 2009

Posted November 7, 2011
Updated November 8, 2011

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— More than 2,000 Wake County voters have already cast their ballots ahead of Tuesday's election, nearly doubling the early voting numbers from two years ago, a Wake County Board of Elections official said Monday.

Voting Polling places, sample ballots

Director Cherie Poucher said that, as of noon Monday, her office had received 2,058 ballots from one-stop voting sites and absentee voters.

Municipal races in 11 towns and cities in the county are on the ballot, but the most watched race Tuesday is the District 3 school board runoff.

"Anytime we can get people out voting, it makes us very happy, because we want people to exercise their right to vote," Poucher said. "We pretty much knew, because of the media coverage in District 3, that this was going to be one of the contests that brought voters out."

Incumbent Kevin Hill, a Democrat, finished first in the four-person race on Oct. 11 with 49.69 percent of the votes but was 51 votes shy of securing an outright victory.

His Republican challenger, Heather Losurdo, who received 39.88 percent of the votes, requested the runoff, which is allowed under state law since Hill did not receive the 50 percent of votes, plus one, he needed to secure a win.

Of the ballots already cast, Poucher said, 1,225 were for the school board race.

"That's been our heavy one," she said.

Of those ballots, 635 were from registered Democrats, 317 from Republicans, 270 from unaffiliated voters and three from Libertarians. Who those votes were cast for, however, won't be known until Tuesday evening, Poucher said.

In the November 2009 election, 1,131 early ballots were cast.

It, too, involved a school board runoff race involving John Tedesco, who won the District 2 seat against Cathy Truitt with 75 percent of the vote.

"It will be interesting to see how many people come out. If we have roughly the same number of people, it's Hill's to lose," said Andrew Taylor, a political science professor at North Carolina State University. "It could well be that we might see a runoff that has more interest than the initial contest."

School board races are usually quiet, drawing little attention, but this year's race for five seats on what's supposed to be a nonpartisan school board has been anything but low-key, Taylor said, and appeared to drive turnout for the October, which is generally low in off-years elections.

According to the Wake County Board of Elections, voter turnout was 21.16 percent this year – more than double the turnout in 2009.

The Hill-Losurdo race has been viewed by many as a defining win for the future of the board and the school system.

Democratic-backed candidates won four other seats in the school board race. Whoever wins the District 3 race will decide the board majority.

If Hill wins, Democrats will gain control of the board from the Republican bloc, elected in 2009, which worked to overturn the school system's student assignment policy of busing students for diversity.

Supporters of the new policy – aimed at putting students in schools closer to where they live – have said that they fear that a Democrat-controlled school board would try to overturn the assignment policy and undo other work from the past two years.

Other Wake races on Tuesday's ballot include a number of mayoral races:

  • In Apex, challenger Bryan Gossage is running against incumbent Mayor Keith Weatherly.
  • In Fuquay-Varina, Mayor John W. Byrne is seeking another term against Michael Dorman.
  • Knightdale Mayor Russell Killen is also seeking another term, running against Jun Lee.
  • In Wendell, Mayor Harold Broadwell is running against Timothy Hinnant.
  • Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams and Rolesville Mayor C. Frank Eagles are both running unopposed.

Elsewhere in the Triangle and central North Carolina, Durham Mayor Bill Bell is seeking a seventh term against Rev. Sylvester Williams.

Voters in Durham County must also decide on a proposed half-cent local sales tax designed to fund a regional transit system in the Triangle, while voters in Durham and Orange counties will consider a quarter-cent local sales tax for education.

In Fayetteville, Tony Chavonne is seeking his third term as mayor against challenger Nat Robertson.

15 Comments

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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Nov 8, 2011

    Hill has historically supported socio-economic diversity (race) based busing.

    He's only changed his tune to support Tata's neighborhood school plan now he sees the voters want neighborhood schools.

    Hill says he supports Tata's neighborhood school plan eventhough he voted against it.

    The reason he voted against the plan would in effect put busing back in place.

    Be careful, Hill is a hypocrite who will do and say what's required to get reelected.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Nov 8, 2011

    Someone needs to investigate early voting ballots being taped to doors and mailboxes in district 3 with the ballots being pre-filled out for Hill.

    Looks like the Democrats are trying to stuff the ballot box in this election.

  • crazywater Nov 8, 2011

    >Except that's not what Hill is supporting. I guess if you only believe what Losurdo says, then you believe the way you do. Hill is there for the kids, first and foremost.<

    You're joking right? He voted against the new plan. He voted against Tata. What do you think he supports?

  • Follow_The_Money27617 Nov 8, 2011

    I lived in Franklin Co and went to Enloe. You people are hilarious! WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

  • rescuefan Nov 7, 2011

    "So Mike, you want all families to endure what we suffered under the old school board - 8 different schools over 13 years of education. With a school board that would not listen to us when we complained about this, but even went on to mock us in open public meetings.

    Thanks for trying to continue to make the lives of all families in Wake County more difficult. We have endured enough of the failed diversity policy that has not helped the education of our children.
    westernwake1"

    Except that's not what Hill is supporting. I guess if you only believe what Losurdo says, then you believe the way you do. Hill is there for the kids, first and foremost.

  • Screw WrAl Nov 7, 2011

    All you Heather supporters eligible to vote better show up and you better bring friends. Otherwise she's done. She needs possibly 300+ just to be even with Mr. Bussing before the first vote is cast tomorrow.

    Set your alarms and call your neighbors tonight.

  • westernwake1 Nov 7, 2011

    "Please, please, please let Hill get the majority vote. His opponent looks like little more than a shill for the wacky right wingers." Mike H.

    So Mike, you want all families to endure what we suffered under the old school board - 8 different schools over 13 years of education. With a school board that would not listen to us when we complained about this, but even went on to mock us in open public meetings.

    Thanks for trying to continue to make the lives of all families in Wake County more difficult. We have endured enough of the failed diversity policy that has not helped the education of our children.

  • Bill of Rights Nov 7, 2011

    Please, please, please let Hill get the majority vote. His opponent looks like little more than a shill for the wacky right wingers.

  • westernwake1 Nov 7, 2011

    The bottom line is simple - If you do NOT want your children bussed to a different school every year to support a failed diversity policy then do NOT vote for Kevin Hill.

    It is time to move forward in Wake County not backward. Vote for Heather Losurdo.

  • godnessgracious2 Nov 7, 2011

    Allows them and acorn to vote early and often.

    That sounds illegal. Maybe we should pool our resources together and come of with some kind of centralized framework of laws and law enforcement offices to fight these kinds of abuses...wait no, that sounds like socialism.

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