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Democratic field narrows, Richmond County voters switch parties and polling site changes ahead of Super Tuesday

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ROCKINGHAM — As Richmond County poll workers were setting up voting locations ahead of the Super Tuesday primary election, the field of candidates for one major political party narrowed even more.

Media outlets reported Monday afternoon that Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar was dropping out of the Democratic race for president. Former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg stepped away on Sunday and just before him was billionaire Tom Steyer.

There were 15 candidates when the N.C. State Board of Elections set the ballot on Dec. 20. Most dropped out around the time of the New Hampshire primary or before.

Now only five remain: former vice president Joe Biden; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren; and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

If any of the 1,937 Richmond County Democratic ballots were cast for the 10 no longer in the race, it would seem those votes were for naught.

In all, 3,154 registered voters took advantage of early voting, according to Elections Director Connie Kelly. There were also 1,213 voters to fill out a Republican ballot and two Libertarians. Kelly added that there were also two who cast an unaffiliated ballot, which means they only voted for school board members.

President Donald Trump was facing two challengers on the Republican ballot, but former Illinois representative Joe Walsh suspended his campaign last month, leaving William Weld. Weld is a former Massachusetts governor and ran as the vice presidential nominee on the Libertarian ticket in 2016.

Other presidential candidates on the ballot are:

Constitution Party: Don Blankenship, Charles Kraut

Green Party: Howie Hawkins (also nominated by Socialist Party USA)

Libertarian Party: Max Abramson, Ken Armstrong, Dan Berhman, Kenneth Blevins, Souraya Faas, Erik Gerhardt, Jedidiah Hill, Jacob Hornberger, Jo Jorgenson, Adam Kokesh, John McAffee, James Orlando Ogle, Steve Richey, Kim Ruff (suspended campaign Jan. 11), Vermin Supreme, and Arvin Vohra

Other states participating in Super Tuesday are Texas, California, Virginia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Utah, Maine and Vermont.


A combined nine candidates will square off on the Republican and Democratic ballots for the Richmond County Board of Commissioners.

The field will be narrowed down in the primaries to three candidates from each party, who will vie for three seats on the board.

Running as a Democrat are Jimmy Capps, Michael Legrand, Susan Bruce, Kevin Clark and Dewey Brower. The Republican candidates are Jeff Smart, Lee Berry, Andy Grooms and James Entwistle.

Unaffiliated candidate T.J. Davenport has yet to submit signatures from 4% (1,116) of the total number of registered voters on Jan. 1. He has until noon on Tuesday to do so in order to be on the November ballot.

Richmond County Commissioner Ben Moss will face Montgomery County’s Joey Davis in the Republican primary to decide who will face Rep. Scott Brewer for the District 66 seat in the N.C. House of Representatives.

There are also five candidates — incumbents Wiley Mabe, Jerry Ethridge and Ronald Tillman,  and newcomers David McGuire and Connie Poole — vying for a spot on the Richmond County Board of Education.


Richmond County currently has 28,303 registered voters, Kelly said.

The breakdown by political party affiliation is as follows:

  • Democrat: 14,068
  • Republican: 6,086
  • Libertarian: 84
  • Green: 8
  • Constitution: 19 
  • Unaffiliated: 8,038

Since January 2019, there have been 730 voters to switch their party affiliations, Kelly said, with nearly half (350) choosing to be unaffiliated.

Republicans picked up the second-highest number of new voters (267), followed by Democrats (97). There were eight who switched to the Constitution Party, seven to the Libertarian Party and one to the Green Party.

When registration closed ahead of early voting, there were 102 total party switches from Jan. 1-Feb. 7 this year, according to Kelly:

  • 24 from Democrat to Republican
  • 40 from Democrat to Unaffiliated
  • Three from Republican to Democrat
  • Four from Republican to Unaffiliated
  • Seven from Unaffiliated to Democrat
  • 12 from Unaffiliated to Republican


Kelly said Monday that one polling location has changed for Tuesday’s election.

The site for the Wolf Pit No. 3 precinct has moved from Cordova School to the Cordova Fire Department.

Last November, there were two site changes:

  • Mineral Springs No. 1 moved from Town Hall to the fellowship hall of First Methodist Church, 2281 Main St., Ellerbe.
  • Mineral Springs No. 2 location moved from the Community Center to Norman Methodist Church, 118 W. Moore St.

Other polling sites are: 

Rockingham No. 1

City of Rockingham Parks & Recreation (Browder Park), 1311 Rockingham Road

Rockingham No. 2

Leath Memorial Library (Calvin Little Room), 412 E. Franklin Street

Rockingham No. 3

Northside Fire Department, 209 Bear Branch Road

Wolf Pit No. 1

East Rockingham Senior Center, 135 Safie 6th St.

Wolf Pit No. 2

Community Church Recreation Building, 193 Mill Road

Wolf Pit No. 4

Ellerbe Grove Baptist Church, 162 Ellerbe Grove Church Road

Marks Creek No. 1

First United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 300 Charlotte Street, Hamlet


Marks Creek No. 2

First Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 200 Rice Street, Hamlet

Beaver Dam No. 1

Fletcher’s Chapel United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 108 McCoy Drive, Hoffman

Beaver Dam No. 2

Mt. Zion United Church of Christ Fellowship Hall, 986 Ledbetter Road

Steeles No. 1

Mangum Community Building, 5838 Grassy Island Road

Steeles No. 2

Concord United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 316 Concord Church Road

Black Jack No. 1

Mount Pleasant Community Building, 876 Grassy Island Road


Last week, the NCSBE offered a list of tips for voting on election day. Here are a few of them:

  • Voters who are registered with one of the five recognized political parties (Constitution, Democratic, Green, Libertarian, or Republican) may only cast a ballot in that party’s primary election. Unaffiliated voters may request a Democratic, Libertarian, or Republican ballot, or nonpartisan ballot, if available. Unaffiliated voters may not vote ballots of the Constitution or Green parties, as those parties conduct closed primaries.
  • Polls across North Carolina are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Voters in line at 7:30 p.m. will be able to cast a ballot. Lines tend to be longer before and after normal business hours.
  • Voters will either fill out a paper ballot or use a ballot marking device that produces a paper record. If you hand-mark a paper ballot, completely fill in the oval to the left of each candidate or selection using a black pen. If you tear, deface or wrongly mark the ballot, you may request a replacement. Always verify your selections before inserting your ballot into the tabulator, and make sure you have voted all pages of the ballot.
  • Same-day registration is not available on Election Day. Verify your registration status and political party affiliation with the Voter Lookup tool.
  • Voters who need assistance at the polls must request that assistance. Individuals who are unable to enter the polling place may vote curbside. Once inside the polling place, voters who experience difficulties should request help from a poll worker.
  • In a December 31 order, a federal district court blocked North Carolina’s voter photo ID requirement from taking effect. The injunction will remain in place until further order of the court. The North Carolina Court of Appeals also temporarily blocked the law on February 18, 2020.
  • The State Board asks that all voters respect the right of others to participate in the election. Intimidating any voter is a crime. Voters who feel harassed or intimidated should notify an election official immediately. To report an election incident to the State Board, submit it online at: https://goo.gl/v1yGew.
  • It is a violation of law to photograph or video a marked ballot. G.S. § 163-166.3(b),(c)


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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.