Local Politics

Voters left guessing by down-ticket races

Posted October 20, 2008 5:09 p.m. EDT
Updated October 20, 2008 8:59 p.m. EDT

— 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."