Wednesday, 21 August 2019 19:27

More than 200 turn out for first day of early voting in special election

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Faye Hayes made the drive from Hamlet to Rockingham to cast her ballot on the first day of early voting for the 9th Congressional District special election Faye Hayes made the drive from Hamlet to Rockingham to cast her ballot on the first day of early voting for the 9th Congressional District special election William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Faye Hayes, of Hamlet, was the next to the last person to scan a ballot Wednesday on the first day of early voting in the special election for the 9th Congressional District seat.

Hayes was the 217th out of the 218 who voted, according to the Richmond County Board of Elections.

Elections Director Connie Kelly was pleased with the opening day turnout, adding that there were only 402 votes cast during early voting for the Republican primary in May.

Early voting will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through Friday, Sept. 6, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31 at the Cooperative Extension office on Caroline Street.

There will be no voting Monday, Sept. 2 in observance of Labor Day.

Civilians can request an absentee ballot until 5 p.m., Tuesday Sept. 3 with a turn-in deadline of 5 p.m. Sept. 10, which will be the day of the election, Kelly said. Uniformed or overseas citizens can request a ballot until 5 p.m. Sept. 9, the day before the election, with a deadline of 7:30 p.m.(when the polls close) on election day. 

Kelly said the uniformed and overseas ballots can be transmitted electronically.

If mail-in ballots are postmarked by Sept. 10 and received by Sept. 13, they can still be counted, she added.

The 9th Congressional District race features two candidates who were in the original race, Democrat Dan McCready and Libertarian Jeff Scott, against Republican Dan Bishop and Green Party candidate Allen Smith.

Scott and Smith appeared on Good Morning Sandhills on Tuesday. (Click here to see them in the studio.) 

The two third-party candidates have made several appearances together throughout the district, which includes Anson, Richmond, Scotland, Robeson and Union counties, as well as parts of Mecklenburg, Bladen and Cumberland counties.

McCready has made several visits to Richmond County since the campaign began, including a stop in Hamlet on Aug. 6 as part of his eight-county education tour.

The Marine Corps veteran and solar entrepreneur was scheduled to vote in Charlotte on Wednesday.

Bishop is scheduled to be in Wadesboro on Aug. 31

McCready narrowly lost to former Republican candidate the Rev. Mark Harris in November and conceded, but withdrew the concession once questions were raised about voting improprieties in Bladen and Robeson counties.

The N.C. State Board of Elections failed to certify the results and new election was called for following a hearing.

Harris withdrew from the redo, citing poor health.

Leslie McCrae Dowless, who worked for the Harris campaign, and others have been criminally charged.

Bishop won the Republican primary in May with 47 percent of the vote.

Elections director Connie Kelly said there were 402 votes cast during early voting for the primary in May.

Bishop, who was recently re-elected to the state Senate, was a member of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners from 2004-2008, then took a few years off before running for the N.C. House of Representatives in 2014, winning the seat for the 104th District.

The seat has been vacant for more than eight months since former Rep. Robert Pittenger, who lost last year’s Republican primary to Harris, left office. Congress was sworn in Jan. 3.