Public urged to participate in city elections

Early voting starts Thursday
Oct. 16, 2013 @ 05:02 AM

Lee County Elections Director Nancy Kimble said she hopes the public can prove her wrong.

Early voting for the Nov. 5 municipal election begins Thursday, and Kimble said she's concerned about low voter turnout.

"We are expecting it to be low," she said. "I'd really like to challenge the public to prove me wrong, but we expect it to be low."

There were 2,556 ballots cast — or a 16.96 percent voter turnout — during the Sept. 10 municipal primary, and more than 1,300 of those votes were cast during the early voting period.

Early voting, including one-stop voting, is from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays through Nov. 1 and from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Lee County Board of Elections office, located at 225 S. Steele St.

All city of Sanford ballots will include the open at-large district seat now held by Councilman L.I. "Poly" Cohen. Cohen was defeated by local attorney Norman "Chas" Post III in the Democratic primary. Post will face Republican Max Dolan, a Veterans Affairs benefits briefer, who won against local political blogger Keith Clark.

City residents in Ward 1 can choose between incumbent Samuel Gaskins or Republican challenger Bill Oberkirsch. Councilman James "JD" Williams and Chet Mann are both unopposed in their races, Ward 3 and mayoral seats respectively, after defeating primary opponents.

Town of Broadway residents can vote on four alcohol-related measures during the Nov. 5 election; three concern whether restaurants should be able to serve beer, serve wine and/or serve liquor, and the fourth would allow a state-run liquor store to be opened within town limits. There are also four open seats on the Town Board of Commissioners, and unless a strong write-in candidate prevails, they will go to Woody Beale, Jim Davis, Thomas Beal and Janet Harrington.

All of the precincts, excluding the Deep River and Greenwood precincts, will be open on election day. The polling place for Precinct C2 will be at Southern Lee High School instead of its traditional location at Tramway Elementary School. Schools will be in session when residents cast their votes, and Kimble is urging residents to avoid going during peak hours when students are arriving or leaving the campuses.

Sample ballots, campaign finance reports and polling station information is available online at under the Election Department tab.