local elections matter 2022

By Dave Russell

By about 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, Jackson County and North Carolina will be halfway finished with another filing/campaigning/primary election/campaigning/general election cycle. The Jackson County Board of Education will also have at least two new members, maybe three.

Early voting sites remain open today (Thursday) and Friday from 8 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. and 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday.

“The total number of in-person voters at our five one-stop sites is 1,497,” Jackson County Elections Systems Manager Ryan Oliver said Monday afternoon. “We have received 53 ballots back by mail.”

Voters may cast a ballot at any early voting site in the county.

Early voting sites are:

• Cashiers Recreation Center, 355 Frank Allen Road, Cashiers.

• Cullowhee Recreation Center, 88 Cullowhee Mountain Road, Cullowhee.

• Jackson County Board of Elections Office, 876 Skyland Drive, Sylva.

• Qualla Community Building, 181 Shoal Creek Church Loop, Whittier.

• Western Carolina University, 245 Memorial Drive, Cullowhee.

This will be the second primary election since the North Sylva/Dillsboro precinct was combined with South Sylva.

Polling places for May 17 are as follows:

Barkers Creek, Barkers Creek Community Building; Canada, Canada Fire Department; Caney Fork, Caney Fork Fire Substation; Cashiers, Cashiers Recreation Center; Cullowhee, Jackson County Recreation Center; Greens Creek, Savannah Community Building; Glenville, Glenville-Cashiers EMS Rescue Squad Building; Qualla, Qualla Community Building; River, VFW Building; Savannah, Savannah Fire Department; Scotts Creek, Balsam-Willets Fire Department; Sylva/Dillsboro, Skyland Services Center; Webster, old Webster School.

The polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Any voter in line at their assigned polling place at 7:30 p.m. will be able to vote.

In the primary election, voters will select nominees for a political party to move on to the Nov. 8 general election. Contests on the ballot include U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, N.C. General Assembly, state and local judges, district attorney and county offices. In primaries, voters affiliated with a political party will be given a ballot of candidates for their party. Unaffiliated voters may choose the ballot of any party that has a primary. Libertarians do not have any primaries this year.

For voters eligible to vote in the primary, sample ballots are available through the State Board of Elections’ (www.ncsbe.gov) Voter Search tool. Voters also may check their registration status, election day polling place and additional information about their voting record using the Voter Search.

According to the N.C. Board of Elections, as of Tuesday morning 247,354 of the state’s 7,277,030 voters had cast a ballot during early voting – 124,316 requesting a Democrat ballot and 122,235 a Republican ballot. Of unaffiliated voters, the state’s fastest growing group of voters, 23,105, or 35 percent, have chosen Democrat ballots and 40,885, or 63 percent, have requested Republican ballots.

North Carolina passed a voter photo ID law, but a three-judge panel concluded the law was in violation of the N.C. Constitution, meaning voters are not required to show ID.

Primary winners are determined by getting 30 percent of the vote plus one; with several crowded primaries, at least one runoff is quite likely. If a second primary is necessary, it will be held July 26. Party choices made by voters in the first primary are locked in for the second primary.

All voters can cast ballots for the nonpartisan Jackson County Board of Education seats. There are no contested primary races for any office among Libertarians, so registered Libertarians can only vote the nonpartisan Board of Education ballot. The deadline for voters to switch party affiliation has passed.

For more information about local elections, see jcncelections.org or call 586-7538. For information on the state level, see ncsboe.com.