It may be Election Day in North Carolina but a look at the nearly 2,800 polling locations in the state would suggest that many people don’t realize it.
For example, polling locations in Wake and Johnston counties has seen between 30 and 160 voters by lunchtime after six hours of voting, making polling places sparsely populated.
The second primary was called in response to two court decisions, one requiring the redrawing of the Congressional District maps and the other relating to the state Supreme Court race.
With another primary coming so soon after the March primary, voters may not have been aware it was time to show up at the ballot box again.
In Clayton, for instance, two districts saw only about 40 voters by mid-morning, while a rural district in Wake County only saw about 35 voters into the afternoon.
Many districts did not have the familiar sea of signs and campaign volunteers stumping for their candidates.
Jimmy and Linda Bishop are faithful voters and made a point to get out and vote Tuesday morning, becoming the 60th and 61st voters to pass through the polling location that day.
“It’s sorta odd, I think, that it’s not all at one time,” Linda said. “I voted for George Holding and Bob Edmunds. I don’t think (Rep. Renee Ellmers) is as conservative as she used to be.”
Jimmy said that it is important to get out and vote, even in odd elections like the second primary, because it’s crucial to try and get the right people in office.
Low voter turnout extended to early voting, where only 86,035 votes had been cast across the state, according to ncvotetracker.com, a project of the Civitas Institute.
In comparison, during the primary in March 724,557 early votes were cast before Election Day.
Even with the low turnout, the election will still cost about $9.5 million to put on.
Races to watch
With there being no time for a runoff election the winner of the each primary, no matter how small his or her percentage of the vote is, will go on to the general election in November.
In a usual election year there would be a runoff election if the leading candidate did not win at least 40 percent of the vote.
This may lead to a winner in the 13th District chosen by a very small percentage of voters, because the vote will be split among 17 Republican contenders. Five Democrats are running in the district.
The district, currently held by Republican Rep. George Holding, was left without an incumbent after Holding filed for the seat in District 2, which contains a majority of the towns in the original 13 District.
In District 2 he is challenging current District 2 Rep. Renee Ellmers. Also on the ballot is Greg Brannon, a doctor from Cary.
Congresswoman Alma Adams, who resides in Greensboro, currently represents District 12, which was compressed to include only Mecklenburg County, leaving Adams to fight to maintain her hold on her seat, which is now far removed from where she has lived.
Adams did lease a condo in Charlotte and moved her voter registration to the Queen City, but some question whether she is really living in Charlotte now.
In addition to the Congressional races, there is also a primary for one seat on the state Supreme Court.
Four candidates are running for the seat: current Supreme Court Justice Robert Edmunds; Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan; Daniel Robertson, an attorney in Davie County; and Sabra Faires, an attorney in Wake County.
While Supreme Court races in North Carolina are non-partisan, Edmunds is one of four registered Republicans on the bench and Morgan and Robertson are Democrats. Faires is registered as unaffiliated.