Local Politics

Early voting for primaries begins Thursday

North Carolinians can vote early for their picks in primaries for state and federal offices starting this week. Voters' top concern is the economy and many remain undecided going into the May 4 primary, according to polls.

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Election 1
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolinians can vote early for their picks in primaries for state and federal offices starting this week.

One-stop voting opens Thursday and runs until May 1. The primary will be held May 4.

One-stop voting allows North Carolinians to register to vote and cast a ballot at the same time. Unregistered voters should bring identification with the name and address. They will not be able to register to vote on the day of the primaries.

This year's primaries are unusually crowded.

Eleven candidates are vying for one U.S. Senate seat, including incumbent Richard Burr. Four hundred candidates are running for 120 seats in the North Carolina General Assembly. Less than a quarter of the races for the state Senate and House of Representatives have been left uncontested.

Nearly three-quarters of voters said they "felt strongly enough" to replace their state legislator, regardless of party, according to a March poll by the right-leaning Civitas Institute. Forty percent said they strongly agreed or somewhat agreed with the proposition to replace all state legislators, regardless of party. Forty-one percent disagreed.

Voters seem evenly split as to which party they would prefer to represent them in the next Congress, according to recent polls.

In a poll released March 24 by left-leaning Public Policy Polling, 43 percent of survey respondents said they would vote for a Republican, 42 percent for a Democrat, and 14 percent were undecided. In the Civitas Institute poll, 38 percent said they would vote for a Republican, 36 percent for a Democrat, 6 percent for neither, and 20 percent were undecided.

In both polls, many voters remained undecided about the Democratic candidates in the U.S. Senate, although Secretary of State of Elaine Marshall was leading.

In an April 13 Public Policy poll, 45 percent of survey respondents remained undecided. Marshall drew support from 23 percent of respondents, and former state Sen. Cal Cunningham drew 17 percent. Durham lawyer Ken Lewis polled 9 percent, Old Fort photographer Susan Harris 4 percent, Gaston County teacher Ann Worthy drew 1 percent, and Lumberton lawyer Marcus Williams 0 percent.

In the earlier Civitas poll, 83 percent of those surveyed were undecided, while Marshall drew 9 percent support. Two percent picked  Cunningham, Lewis or Harris, while Williams and Worthy each drew 1 percent.

The economy and jobs emerged as the voters' top concern in polls by both groups: 57 percent in the March 24 Public Policy poll and 47 percent in the Civitas poll.

Voters affiliated with a political party can vote only in that party's primary. Unaffiliated and unregistered voters can pick which primary to vote in.



Anne Johnson, Web Editor

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