By Peter Vankevich and Connie Leinbach
Up to 2,892 island and mainland voters could determine who will represent Ocracoke as its county commissioner in the March 15 primary election.
That total would depend on if unaffiliated voters choose to vote Democrat.
Early voting will begin Friday and Saturday (March 4 and 5) from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department, 822 Irvin Garrish Hwy. That also is the same location for the main primary when polls will be open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The primary includes state offices, Congressional candidates, the myriad candidates on the presidential ballot and a referendum on the Connect NC Public Improvement Bond for $2 billion for infrastructure in 76 counties. Due to ballot-printing deadlines, several of the presidential candidates in both parties have dropped out of contention but are still listed.
To view the entire ballot including all Republican and Democratic candidates and the bond issue, click here.
Locally, for Ocracoke Township County Commissioner, only two candidates are running on the Democratic ticket–John Fletcher, the incumbent and a retired attorney and challenger Tom Pahl, a licensed general contractor. No one is running either as a Republican or Libertarian for this office, and all Hyde County voters will vote for this position.
In North Carolina, while voters registered in specific parties vote for those party candidates, unaffiliated voters also may vote in primary elections.
They may request a ballot of either party, or an unaffiliated ballot, said Viola Williams, director of the Hyde County Board of Elections.
However, she said, the unaffiliated ballot contains only the candidates for the Hyde County Board of Education and the bond issue referendum.
The Libertarian ballot only contains the Libertarian candidates for U.S. president, the Hyde County Board of Education and the bond issue.
As for the commissioner from Ocracoke, Hyde County has 2,109 registered Democrats and 783 unaffiliated voters. If these latter requested to vote Democrat, the possible total number of votes cast for this seat could be 2,892.
Registered Republicans and Libertarians will not be able to vote using a Democratic ballot and the county commissioners will not appear on their ballots.
The deadline to register to vote or change party affiliations for this primary was Feb. 19.
Ocracoke has a total of 774 registered voters which break down as follows:
The registered voters for Hyde County are as follows: