It’s Election Day, July 17, 2012
Today is Election Day, and before the polls opened this morning at 6:30 am, 36,999 votes had been cast during the early voting period. Voter turnout in second primary elections is usually very (and I mean very) low. In 2008, with only one statewide contest (Democratic Commissioner of Labor) on the ballot, 1.8 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot. The second primary in 2010 again included only one statewide (Democratic U.S. Senate) contest but garnered 3 percent more than 2008 election with voter turnout at 4.5 percent.
This year there are four Republican statewide contests and one Democratic contest on the second primary ballot. As usual, there is a smattering of district races (Congressional and State) scattered around the state perhaps encouraging heavier local turnout, but with early votes totaling just over one half of one percent of eligible voters, even 4.5 percent may be wishful thinking. 2012
Second Primary Early Voting Facts – According NC Vote Tracker:
Not surprisingly and considering the hotly contested 9th District Congressional race, Mecklenburg County turned out the most voters (4,778) during the early voting period. Vance County came in second, with a total of 1,912 voters voting early and Henderson County was next in line – 1,704 voters. Wake County voter turnout was less than Vance and Henderson counties. Only 1,328 people voted early in Wake.
These numbers could be bad news for Lt. Governor Candidate Tony Gurley, given that in the May 8th Primary Dan Forest, Gurley’s opponent in the 2nd Primary, received 27,066 votes to Gurley’s 6,609 in Mecklenburg County. Mecklenburg is home to 9th District Congresswoman Sue Myrick, Forest’s mother. Wake County clearly favored Gurley, a Wake County Commissioner, in May when he received 39,050 votes to Forest’s 19,767.
Statewide, Republicans (20,514) outvoted Democrats (10,734) almost two to one during early voting. Unaffiliated voters cast 5,750 ballots. Of the unaffiliated voters, almost 85 percent chose Republican ballots and just under 15 percent received Democratic ballots.
The one surprising thing about this election is that Mecklenburg County thought it was necessary to open 4 additional early voting sites – that means a total of five early voting sites for 4,778 voters. The Board of Elections office early voting site was open for voting for 17 days, while the additional sites were open for the last 6 days of voting.
The hardworking taxpayers in Mecklenburg County should pay close attention to the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections as they choose the one-stop, early voting sites for the General Election.
Suggestions for interested voters:
Take a look at this article, it’s a good history of 2nd Primary elections – when you are finished reading, I believe you will agree that 2nd primary elections should be abolished.
“Whatever the solution adopted, there is bipartisan support in favor of the abolition of second primaries, which many view as an antiquated process that is no longer needed to support a hostile one-party system and which only leads to needless government expense in harsh economic times.”
Boards of Elections meetings are open to the public – call your elections office and get on their notification list. Attend the meetings and always take a video camera with you.
Polls close at 7:30 pm. Vote.