Update: Amy Klobuchar Drops Out of Presidential Race. This story is updated.
By Peter Vankevich
Described by many of all political affiliations as the “most important election in our lifetimes,” a relatively few voters in mainland Hyde County and Ocracoke took advantage of the early voting option.
According to Viola Williams, Hyde County’s elections director, a total of 125 cast their ballots as of the close of business last Thursday, with 92 at the Elections Office in Swan Quarter and 33 on Ocracoke during the two early voting days on Feb. 20 and 21.
Here is the early voter breakdown:
Mainland: Democrat, 62; Republican, 30. Of the 62 Democrats, 31 were Unaffiliated voters.
Ocracoke: Democrat, 29; Republican, 3, Libertarian, 1. Of the 29 Democrat voters, 10 of these were Unaffiliated.
For a perspective on the low numbers, Hyde County has a total of 3,054 registered voters: 1,529 Democrats; 529 Republicans; 16 Libertarians, one Green party; and 936 unaffiliated voters. Within these numbers, Ocracoke has a total of 776 registered voters: 375 Democrats, 108 Republicans, seven Libertarians and 286 unaffiliated voters.
There are some reasons for the few early voters. For the Democrats, many said they were waiting for the results from yesterday’s South Carolina primary where Joe Biden won overwhelmingly; others have still haven’t made up their minds.
For the Republicans, President Donald J. Trump is expected to have token opposition with candidates Joe Walsh and Bill Weld.
On Ocracoke, voting will be from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department, 822 Irvin Garrish Highway. The list of all Hyde County main land voting locations and sample ballots are below.
Dubbed as “Super Tuesday,” North Carolina is among 14 states –the largest in one day– holding primary elections. More delegates to the presidential nominating conventions can be won on Super Tuesday than on any other single day.
North Carolina will join Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia holding presidential primaries.
Unaffiliated voters may vote by choosing the partisan ballot of their choice, but voters who are affiliated with a political party may vote only their party’s ballot.
For Hyde county, the Democrat ballot will have three candidates for the Lake Landing county commissioner, Barbara Gibbs, Marsha Gibbs and Thomas Midgette. Two of these candidates provided their views to the Ocracoke observer and be seen here. They will run against incumbent Earl Pugh, Jr. (R) who is unopposed in his party. Unopposed candidates will only appear on the November ballot.
Republicans will have a choice for the N.C. State House District 6. Rob Rollason will challenge incumbent Bobby Hanig for the Republicans. They have filed candidate statements with the observer that can be viewed here. The Democrat for this seat, Tommy Fulcher is unopposed for this party.
There are many reasons for Democrats and Republicans to vote in this primary.
On the Democrat ballot for president there are 15 candidates. However, only Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joseph R. Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Tulsi Gabbard remain in the race.
Monday afternoon, Amy Klobuchar announced that she was dropping out.
After Saturday’s South Carolina, Tom Steyer dropped out, and late Sunday afternoon Pete Buttigieg announced he was abandoning his quest for presidency. They join Deval Patrick, Marianne Williamson, Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, John K. Delaney as candidates not to vote for. The ballots were printed before these candidates suspended their campaigns.
Important seats are the U.S. Senate, currently held by Thom Tillis with several candidates in each party running. See sample ballots below.
The race for governor includes incumbent Democrat Roy Cooper challenged by Ernest T. Reaves. The Republicans will have Dan Forest and Holly Grange squaring off.
On both ballots are several state offices will multiple candidates. Some useful voter information on the candidates may be found on Ballotpedia NC.
Here are the Hyde County precinct voting locations for March 3, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Ponzer Ruritan Building, 39911 E US Hwy 264, Belhaven.
Engelhard Community Building, 34545 US Hwy 264.
Mattamuskeet Opportunities, 69 Church St.
St. Georges Parrish House, 31655 US Hwy 264, Engelhard.
Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Dept., 822 Irvin Garrish Hwy.
Sladesville Fire Dept. Mtg Room, 123 Sladesville-Credle Rd.
Quarter Volunteer Fire Dept., 25 Oyster Creek Rd.
For more information regarding any voting procedures, contact the Hyde County Elections Office, 252-926-4194, or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Office hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Below are sample ballots for the political parties for Hyde County voters: