Local Politics

Voters left guessing by down-ticket races

Posted October 20, 2008

— Aside from president, governor and a few other prominent races, many voters admit they are clueless about who's running in other contests on the November ballot – let alone whom to vote for.

In Wake County, for example, there are 38 races on the ballot, with 73 candidates vying in them.

"I didn't know who half of them were," voter Robin Branch said. "That's all right, I'm more concerned about the president right now."

Voter Teresa Hopkins said she used to leave the ballot blank for nonpartisan races like judgeships and the county Soil and Water Conservation District board.

"Now I'm realizing it's more important to voice a vote on this, where once upon a time, when I was younger, I would pass all that up if I didn't know," Hopkins said.

Operatives for the Democratic and Republican parties and other groups often distribute sheets outside polling places that resemble ballots and mark preferred candidates to help voters sort out the down-ticket races.

"Remember, you've got to vote for the president first. You have to do that," Eugene Weeks, chairman of the Wake County Voter Education Coalition, a Democratic-affiliated grassroots group, told a voter Monday at the Chavis Community Center early-voting site.

"Then you can vote a straight-party ticket. Then you flip your ballot over, and you vote each judge on the back," Weeks said.

Voter Walter Drayton said he was hoping some inspiration would hit him once he started filling out the ballot.

"We have already decided. It's just a matter of going inside to vote," Drayton said.

And who will get his vote in the state Court of Appeals race between John Arrowood and Bob Hunter?

"We're sort of pending on that still," he said with a laugh. "You get an intuition, hopefully, that will kick in and give you some idea of as to which way you need to vote."


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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Oct 22, 2008

    I personally vote for those who say they will both reduce spending and reduce taxes. That makes me an independent or a libertarian.

    The democrats and republicans should both be voted out of office and replaced with independents and libertarians.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Oct 21, 2008

    rc4nc, its funny, with the same logic I come to a different result. Although I am planning to vote McCrory.

    Sometimes I would rather vote for whover is in the party not in power. Assuming dems run state gov't, I'd rather have a republican auditor. I'll probably vote incumbent on Council of State and not for most legislators.

  • scientistjo Oct 21, 2008

    It took me about 5 minutes of research to determine for whom I'm voting. Go to the Independent Weekly.

  • rc4nc Oct 21, 2008

    It's simple really, past performance is a good indicator of future performance. The Republicans spend without taxing, the Democrats tax and spend. The Democrats promise to increase taxes to catch up with Republican spending. The Republicans this time around are promising Reform. More tax and spend won't help get us out of the current living beyond our means cycle, but reform might.

  • rand321 Oct 20, 2008

    its worth going to the nc board of elections and printing your sample ballot. you can also check your registration as well.

    you have to do some searching to find out about the candidates and even there its hard. some of the state elections have canidate profiles online.

  • venitapeyton Oct 20, 2008

    How sad that black voters are TOLD to vote 'straight ticket' without explanation. And without knowing that those who recommend such usually have a personal, financial interest in the outcome. The News and Observer, the Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association (supposedly nonpartisan), Police Benevolent Assn, AFL CIO and several others didn't even TALK with most of us candidates. Which means their significant membership knows nothing about us. So a handful of people who hope to gain favor with the winner, are not only being paid on election day, but hope for a larger pot thereafter.

  • Blue steel Oct 20, 2008

    This article confirms how truly uneducated our electorate is. Most people have no clue who they are voting for, and that is scarier than who might get elected.

  • WakeHammer Oct 20, 2008

    If you want more of a voice in School Board elections, pay attention to the NC House and Senate races. These people determine whether we get at-large elections for our school board. www.takeourschoolsback.org

  • Bob3425 Oct 20, 2008

    Watch the voting machine, I rather have used paper, very poorly written software code.