Local Candidates Urge Citizens To Vote Today
Posted October 9, 2001 11:14 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Elections will be held today that will shape the futures of Wake, Durham and Cumberland counties. Some of the races are primaries. In other races, the winner of the seat will be decided outright. Although the stakes are high, voter turnout is expected to be low.
The Raleigh mayor's race and other local elections have been overshadowed by the events of Sept. 11. As a result, experts say turnout could be even lower than usual for city races.
"I'm hopeful that people will be reminded that what the terrorists couldn't destroy on Sept. 11 is our core democratic values, which is the most important thing about us," said John Gilbert of the Wake County Election Board.
And Raleigh mayoral candidates Paul Coble and Charles Meeker agree on that point -- Americans should exercise their right to vote today. Both cast their vote Tuesday morning.
Are you looking at economic development or urban sprawl? How Raleigh voters answer that question may decide who they elect as mayor. Incumbent Paul Coble says he hopes voters will look at his record of cutting taxes, reducing crime and creating jobs.
"I'm running on my record and the fact that we've had strong leadership in Raleigh and we'll continue to do that, given the opportunity," he says.
Challenger Charles Meeker hopes to unseat Coble by promising to reign in development, protecting water and trees.
"People want a mayor who will be active in solving Raleigh's problems. They have a renewed interest and want things done," Meeker says.
Meeker is supported by residents who helped derail Neal Coker's proposed project at Wade and Oberlin Road. He is doing his best to get those supporters to the polls.
"I think it's even more important this year. All the campaigns are doing it. We've done a lot of that," Meeker says.
Political newcomer Joel Cornette is also on the ballot.
Since Thursday, the Coble campaign has called 90,000 supporters. Campaign workers say their supporters' opinions will not matter if they do not express them at the polls.
"We ask them to do exactly that. Remember that Tuesday is an Election Day, and it's important because it's going to decide who leads the city for the next two years," he says.
If history holds, a small percentage of voters will decide who that leader will be. Voter turnout was just 17 percent in the 1999 mayor's race.
Raleigh voters will also elect a new city council on Tuesday. All seven seats are on the ballot: two At-Large seats and seats in districts A, B, D and E.
Other elections today: