‘It’s a good day to vote’

Polls are open until 7:30 p.m.

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

* Sample ballots: District 48 and District 66
* List of precincts
* Early voter turnout reaches 17.5 percent

ROBERDEL — It’s election day. In Richmond County, contested races include six candidates for four seats for county commissioner, two candidates for one sheriff’s seat, the state Senate District 25 post is up for grabs as is Congressional District 8 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Chris Larsen, a teacher at Richmond Early College, leaves the Roberdell United Methodist Church fellowship hall after casting his ballot..

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Chris Larsen, a teacher at Richmond Early College, leaves the Roberdell United Methodist Church fellowship hall after casting his ballot..

There’s also a local referendum, a quarter-cent sales tax that city and county officials hope voters will pass to spur construction on a sprawling sports complex off U.S. Route 1 and Old Aberdeen Road. The issue has been contested since the commissioners passed the resolution on July 7 to let voters decide.

But for many voters who arrived in the first half hour at Roberdell United Methodist Church, “none of the above” brought voters out to to the polls.

“I feel like it’s something you should do,” said Marty Davis, who said he might have missed a single opportunity to vote over the years. On Tuesday, he was first coming out of the Roberdell UMC on his way to work in Moore County. Being first, he said, “that has never happened.”

Lewis Davenport and his wife arrived at the church only to learn that it was not their assigned precinct. This year, there is no out-of-precinct voting and no same-day registration. The Davenports were directed to their precinct. As the were leaving, Lewis Davenport said the need to vote was greater this year, perhaps, than others. The country needs saving, he said.

Another change was a full week less of early voting, though that didn’t seem to hamper turnout in Richmond County. A full 17.5 percent of the county’s 30,530 registered voters showed up between Oct. 23 and Nov. 1 — less than 1 percent less than all of the May primary election turnout.

Chris Larsen was on the younger side of voters who arrived early at Roberdell UMC. At 25, the Richmond Early College teacher said it’s something that he’s “always interested in a little bit of politics.”

No single issue brought him out, Larsen said, but noted he felt Richmond County’s most pressing need was revitalization. There’s too many signs indicative of what Richmond County used to be and not enough showing what it can be.

Larsen said he had the opportunity to attend East Carolina University in Greenville — with more than 89,000 residents, it is North Carolina’s 10th largest city — and has realized some of the creature comforts offered by a more densely populated area.

“Going to a bigger town and coming back, you see what could be,” said the Richmond County native.

Dana Simmons, also on her way in to work, said that civic duty drew her to vote.

“It’s something that I do every time,” Simmons said. “I think your right to vote is a very important thing.”

Filed in: Ellerbe/Norman, Featured News, Hamlet, Hoffman, Latest Headlines, News, Rockingham

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