Local Politics

Polls Close; Turnout Light in Local Elections

Posted October 9, 2007

— Mayoral, city council and school board seats were on the ballot Tuesday in precincts ib many parts of the Triangle, not to mention multimillion-dollar bonds issues for parks, open space and libraries.

But registered voters weren't drawn to the polls in large numbers. They reported no or short lines as they cast their votes in unseasonably warm weather.

Polls closed at 7:30 p.m. The Wake County Board of Elections reported voter turnout at 11 percent.

In Cary, the pace of growth is one of the biggest issues in the mayor's race. Incumbent Ernie McAlister said growth drives what he calledCary's healthy economy.

"I think we have proven that growth pays its way as folks move here and begin to pay taxes and that drives developer investment," he said.

Challenger Harold Weinbrecht disagreed, calling for a change in leadership.

"I think now we're not doing an adequate job of managing our growth, providing adequate road capacity and adequate school seating," he said.

Get complete election results on WRAL.com, and watch our election special on the WRAL NewsChannel at 9 p.m. The special will be streamed live on WRAL.com.

Three Cary Town Council seats were also up for grabs. Growth, roads and the future of a proposed performing arts center were major topics at a debate last week.

Cary voters saw a new ballot when they voted Tuesday. The town is the first in the state to hold "instant runoff" voting.

In the new arrangement, voters marked their first, second and third choices on their ballots. In the event no one got a majority vote, the information allows for an "instant runoff" between the top two vote-getters. Election officials said Cary will save more than $60,000 by eliminating the traditional runoff.

In Raleigh, Mayor Charles Meeker and three members of the City Council ran unopposed. Four council seats were up for grabs. There was also an $88 million referendum for parks and greenway projects for voters to consider.

"It will buy several acres of land, two community centers including one aquatics facility," Meeker said. "(It) will also build the city's share of the greenways from Falls Lake to the Johnston County line over 13 miles of the Neuse River. It's a great issue."

The Raleigh City Council hasn't determined if the bond would be paid for with a property tax increase or in another way.

Two of the five seats on the Wake County school board were up for grabs. In central Raleigh, District 6 pitted incumbent Beverley Clark against three opponents. In Northern Wake's District 3, three candidates ran for the seat vacated by Carol Parker.

Three school bond issues were on the ballot – $45 million for public libraries, $50 million to preserve open spaces by buying undeveloped land and $92 million in bonds for Wake Tech Community College. Approving all three would mean a property tax increase of about 2.25 cents per $100 of assessed value, based on current valuations. A property revaluation is in the works.

"Wake Tech is the best economic tool that we have. The availability of an educated workforce is the main reason they're coming here," said Wake County Commissioner Tony Gurley.

In Durham, 10 candidates were vying for three at-large seats. Tuesday's primary was intended to narrow the field to six candidates for the November election. The Durham mayor's race will also be on the November ballot.

In Fayetteville, six City Council seats were contested in a primary.


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  • ifcdirector Oct 9, 2007

    Proud to say I voted in "Pick Your Carpetbagger Day".

  • BUCKEYEnNC Oct 9, 2007

    Talk about election fatigue... I cannot even decide who I want to be my next president (not too crazy about choices), much less decide on local seats!!!

  • .Milky Oct 9, 2007

    I can't believe we are voting on what to do with Bond's money when the guy is not even dead yet. I swear, OJ gets more respect.

  • rt Oct 9, 2007

    Yes, let's imagine what we could be doing with all that bond money. Topping my list: improving schools, adding parkland and improving trash and sewer service. Oh, wait, that's exactly what we _are_ doing with the bond money.

    Meeker is doing a great job for the city. I hope this election gives him the council makeup necessary to deal with the issues at hand.

    I particularly hope that our new council can find a way for new development to pay it's own way with respect to increased loads on schools, water, sewers and roads. That would be fantastic.

  • solly93 Oct 9, 2007

    Why is it that no one is challenging Meeker in Raleigh. It shouldn't be that hard to get him out of office, right?

  • Notinitforthemoney Oct 9, 2007

    Ezlikeasunday morning I hear where you're coming from but I've seen Mr. Wiggins in action. Nothing like knowing a guy is guilty of felonys and do all you can do to plead them down to misdemeanors. Then that repeat offender time after time thinks he can get away with serious stuff. This is the mentality of crimnals in the rocky mount area. "Oh I'll just have my lawyer plead that down"

  • Nobody but Carolina Oct 9, 2007

    Interesting thought, Fun, as Wendell and Zebulon recently got two major roads repaved.

  • Nobody but Carolina Oct 9, 2007

    ez, that appears to be the way it is in Wendell, Bond Vote today, candidates in November. I was prepared for all in November as what candidates I talked to in Wendell kept saying November. It almost seems like it was an attempt to slip the Bond vote through with minimal voting as most everyone will think November voting.

  • Fun Oct 9, 2007

    ezlikesundaymorning, must be an inside the beltline phenomenon

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Oct 9, 2007

    Notinitforthemoney - I'm not a lawyer, but feel the need to remind you that innocent people get charged with crimes also.

    Fun - Actually, no I haven't noticed that.

    Nobody but Carolina - I'm with you, I was prepared for K-dale's November election, now I'm playing catch up trying to be prepared for what's on my ballot. Looks like probably just the bonds.

    I hate hearing commentary about everyone needing to vote. I want to and will vote, but I'm not going to encourage people to go vote with no knowledge of the candidates or issues. Encourage them to find out and then vote.

    So that's what I'm doing. Best I can tell I will be voting on the Wake bonds. I'm leaning towards 2 and on the fence over the libraries. I wouldn't support open space just for open space, but this is supposed to be for future water sources. I really believe education is the key to our economy. I'm not sure libraries are well used anymore, although I wait a while for books on reserve.