ELECTION: Early voting yields low turnout

Oct. 27, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Early voting for the Nov. 5 municipal election began last week, and voter turnout has been low.

There have been 463 ballots cast as of Thursday for early voting, which will continue from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through Nov. 1 and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Lee County Board of Elections office, located at 225 S. Steele St. The peak day so far for early voting was opening day, with 89 votes cast.

The department is relying on the local media and candidates to alert people about the election, and about why they should vote, said Elections Director Nancy Kimble.

“There is not much we can do at this point,” she said.

All Sanford and Broadway residents who are eligible to vote in the municipal election are able to vote early at the board of elections office. Kimble said she’s had two Broadway residents who were unaware they could vote early in Sanford.

“They were talking in their neighborhood, and they thought because they didn’t have a one-stop location in Broadway that they were not able to vote early,” Kimble said. “But they can come to the office and vote.”

In the upcoming election, Broadway residents can vote on four alcohol-related measures — three concerning whether restaurants should be able to serve beer, serve wine and/or serve liquor, and one that would allow a state-run liquor store to open within town limits — along with four candidates for as many seats on the town’s Board of Commissioners. The candidates for the four open seats are Woody Beale, Thomas Beal, Jim Davis and Janet Harrington.

City residents can choose from Republican Max Dolan, a Veterans Affairs benefits briefer, and Democrat Chas Post, a local attorney, for the open at-large district seat on Sanford City Council. City residents in Ward 1 can choose between incumbent Samuel Gaskins, a college professor, or Republican challenger William “Bill” Oberkirsch, a programmer and data analyst. Councilman James “JD” Williams and Chet Mann are unopposed in their races, Ward 3 and mayoral seats respectively, after defeating candidates in the Democratic primary.  

There have been no election complaints filed to date, Kimble said. 

“I hope people will come out,” she said. “I really wish we could get these numbers up, but it seems people are complacent.”