Local Politics

Runoff races draw fraction of May voter turnout

Posted June 24, 2008

— North Carolina voters went back to the polls Tuesday to choose runoff winners for state labor commissioner and other legislative and local races, their numbers at the polls a small fraction of the record turnout for the May 6 primary.

Democrats John Brooks and Mary Fant Donnan competed for the commissioner's nomination, the lone race on the statewide ballot, for the chance to take on Republican incumbent Cherie Berry in November.

Nearly 1.6 million people, or 37 percent of all registered voters, cast ballots in last month's primary, bolstered by the Democratic presidential showdown between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

But with just the commissioner's race and two legislative runoffs, turnout may be the lowest in at least 15 years. Only 2.5 percent of registered Republicans cast ballots in the 2000 GOP labor commissioner's runoff between Berry and John Miller, state elections director Gary Bartlett said.

About 10,000 people cast early ballots either by mail or at county election offices, he said.

"It might be the election officials who are the largest bloc of voters," Bartlett said Tuesday, calling activity at the nearly 3,000 precincts statewide "extremely slow."

There also are local races on the ballots.

  • In the 5th Senate District, which includes parts of Wayne, Pitt and Greene counties, Don Davis and Kathy Taft will compete for the Democratic nomination.
  • Jonathan Alston and Leigh Bordley compete for an at-large seat on the Durham school board.
  • A nominee will also be chosen for Vance County school board.
  • In Franklin County, voters will choose a nominee for an at-large county commission post.
  • And Orange County voters in District 2 will choose a Democrat to run for county commissioner.

Voters who voted in the primary on May 6 can vote in the runoff in the same party. Voters who did not participate in May can choose which party ballot to vote in the second primary.

Polls opened at 6:30 a.m. and were due to close at 7:30 p.m.


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  • White Eagle Jun 25, 2008

    Yeah, this is news but honestly, why hadn't the media (both print and TV) mentioned anything about the runoff till the day that it occurred? Don't they (the media) feel they have a civic responsibility to keep the voters informed or do they feel that if it's not sensational, it's not worth reporting?

    The same criticism goes to the Board of Elections for not spending some money to inform the electorate of the runoff election.

    The State can waste money hand over fist for some fool to travel to Disney World but can't informed the citizens of an election. Shows where the priorities are!

  • wilfhh29 Jun 24, 2008

    I learned about the runoff when I saw it in the paper this morning. I went and voted around 10 AM. I was the 9th person who voted today in my precinct.

  • ThatGuyAgain Jun 24, 2008

    I hadn't heard about the runoff until I got a mailing from the Durham People's Alliance (a socialist organization; even their name screams "60s-era dinosaurs") pimping for a couple of candidates. I had actually voted for one of their candidates previously, not knowing she was a DPA pick.

    Anyway, the DPA mailing brought out my vote, and I voted for the opponents of the candidates the DPA endorsed. Don't know anything about the guys I voted for except that the DPA prefers others. That's all I needed to know.

    Thanks, DPA, for telling me who to vote against and for getting me into the booth to fill in the little circles.

    Traffic at the Bethesda polling place (Ruritan Club next to Bojangles on Miami) was pretty dismal, in keeping with other comments that nobody knew about this.

  • OrdinaryCitizen Jun 24, 2008

    What election? and could we vote online?

  • bs101fly Jun 24, 2008

    you are somewhat correct. The CC's withheld the 7 billion to convert 22 schools to MYR mini-camps and now THOSE SCHOOLS are under-enrolled and transportation and operational costs for those schools have almost doubled! Seems to me that had a right to hold this crooked educational system, that LOVES to pat itself on the back continuously, ACCOUNTABLE!!!
    residents/voters can ONLY vote for the boe rep. that reps. THEIR district, does everyone KNOW what district they're in???, and to allow them to have taxing authority would be the WORST thing to happen to YOU since YOU moved here! You are correct, eventually prop. taxes would double! Are you folks willing to allow that?
    Figure out what district you're in, not the district your child may attend school in, those can be different, AND VOTE THE BOE MEMBERs OUT THAT NEED TO GO!!! And that is most of them!!!!
    NO MORE BONDS for a system that has NO idea what they have created through their hidden agendas and lies upon lies!

  • CestLaVie Jun 24, 2008

    What primary for what election??????????? News to me.

  • pinetops Jun 24, 2008

    If you are Democrat --- please go and vote for Mary Fant Donnan who is runninng for Labor Commissioner!! Thanks.

  • superk Jun 24, 2008

    I heard that it is costing the state (TAXPAYERS) a little over $4 million for this run off election. No wonder budgets can't be met. There has got to be a better way?!?

  • enderby Jun 24, 2008

    "NO BOND for the wcpss because THEY HAVE NO CLUE!!!"

    A little off topic, but you're right, of course. Even worse, the Wake commissioners use the money any way they want as we saw when we voted for the bond last time. The commissioners lied and did what they wanted with the money, not what we were led to believe would be done.
    Also bad - there is talk of letting the WCPSS levy their own taxes. They would start out slow, but your property taxes would eventually double, even when adjusted for inflation.

  • bs101fly Jun 24, 2008

    shoudl've had the next school bond today and THEN we would have shown up!

    TO VOTE IT DOWN!!!!!

    NO BOND for the wcpss beacuse THEY HAVE NO CLUE!!!