Tuesday marked Election Day for the 2018 Primary elections in North Carolina deciding which party candidates will go on to compete for local and legislative seats in November.
Traditionally midterm primary elections will see significantly lower turnout when compared with Presidential election years.
On average about 15 percent of registered voters will turn out for primary elections in midterm years compared to around 30 percent in Presidential midterms.
In the 2016 Primary more than 35 percent of registered voters showed up to the polls making up about 35 percent of registered voters. In the 2014 midterm only a little more than 1 million voters showed up to the polls across the state.
Many volunteers at polling sites around the Triangle reported light voter turnout going into midday Tuesday while some others felt that the turnout at their polling locations was fairly strong.
Faye Pate, a volunteer in Johnston County from Pine Level, was out at the polls in Johnston County advocating for Bill Burgess, a former Johnston County Sheriff’s deputy. Burgess is challenging his former boss incumbent Sheriff Steve Bizzell who has held the position for two decades.
“I think we’ve got a sheriff that has been in office for 20 years and he’s got a lot of time there,” Pate said. “He’s for some people but not for everybody.”
Pate said that it is time for someone new in the office of sheriff.
Looking to other races, Pate said that she votes for the person and not necessarily the party and that she cares specifically about the school board races in the county largely based on her dissatisfaction with a recent raise that the county school system’s superintendent received.
Patrick Daniels said that his reason for participating in the primary was that when it comes to our system of government if you don’t vote you can’t really be upset about the decisions being made in government.
“Every vote counts,” Daniels said. “If you don’t vote in every election you don’t have a right to complain.”
Daniels said that when it came to the race for the Johnston County sheriff that it was an important race for him as well.
“I like Steve Bizzell, but it’s hard to like someone being in office for that long,” he said.
Tracy Bryant was volunteering at the polls for the county Democratic Party, as she has in years past, handing out Democratic candidate information to those going to the polls who still had not made their final decisions about which candidates to cast their ballots for.
Bryant said that the turnout was not what she was hoping for but that she believed it would pick up as people left work.
“I’m a little disappointed in the turnout so far,” she said.
During the 2018 election year all 170 seats in the General Assembly are on the ballot, all 120 House seats and the 50 seats in the Senate.
Also all 13 Congressional seats are up for election this year.
Other races up this year include county commission seats in the 100 counties of the state.
All polling locations opened at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and will remain open until the last person to enter the line before 7:30 p.m. has voted.
Following the closure of the polls, results will begin to trickle in and later into the night the preliminary results of the primary elections will be available on the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement website here.