Voters to decide 2017 municipal elections today

By: By Nolan Gilmour -

LAURINBURG — Despite a contentious campaign season, county officials expect today’s final day of voting —Election Day —to go smoothly.

Voting precincts for the 2017 municipal election will open at at 6:30 am this morning and will remain open until 7:30 p.m. tonight.

According to the Scotland County Board of Elections, 2,112 registered voters have already cast votes with 2,077 votes coming from the two-week One-Stop Early Voting period and 35 people voting through absentee by mail.

Of those 1,092 voters were white; 885 were black; 58 were Native American; 7 were listed as other; 5 as multiracial; and 4 as Asian. The board said more women than men voted during the early period. There were 1,224 female voters compared to 836 male voters.

The last municipal election in 2015 saw 1,320 votes being cast before Election Day.

Election officials said the results will be announced at the Scotland County Court House. They expect to have most results by 8:30 p.m.

“I feel very confident this election will run smoothly,” said Hal Culberson, Scotland County Board of Elections chairman,. “All of the precinct judges have been thoroughly trained and given training manuals, and most of them have years of experience.”

Election results will not be official until the Board of Elections hold its canvas meeting Nov. 13 and sends to final results to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

The board says they are prepared for whatever outcomes — including a tie, which has happened before in Scotland County, said Dell Parker, Scotland County Board of Elections director.

In the event of a tie, the board will ask the candidates to choose between the flip of a coin, drawing of straws, or pulling names from a hat.

Precinct locations

There are changes to some precinct polling places this year. Precinct 4 has been moved to the Laurinburg South Fire Station. The Laurinburg National Guard Armory has served as the polling place, but is closed to the public because of lead contamination.

Precincts 5, 8, and 9 will be closed for this election due to Laurel Hill not being a municipality and two precincts lacking enough voters to justify opening, according to the Scotland County Board of Elections.

All eligible voters in Precincts 5 and 8 have been notified by officials on were to report to cast their vote in today’s election.

Precinct 1 — Scotland County Annex Building; 231 East Cronly Street, Laurinburg.

Precinct 2 — The Learning Center; 420 Stewartsville Road, Laurinburg.

Precinct 3 — Scotland Place; 1210 Turnpike Road, Laurinburg.

Precinct 4 — Laurinburg South Fire Station; 1547 Hickory Street, Laurinburg.

Precinct 6 — East Laurinburg Community Building; Third Street, East Laurinburg.

Precinct 7 — Wagram Recreation Center; 24441 Marlboro Street, Wagram.

Precinct 10 — Gibson Fire Station 6280 Gibson Road, Gibson.

Municipal races;

In Laurinburg, there are a total of eight candidates running for city council, including three incumbents.

District 1 incumbent J.D. Willis will face a challenge from Mary Evans.

In District 2, incumbent Drew Williamson will face three challengers Frank Evans, Brian Gainey and George Medlock.

There is also a race for the at-large seat on council between incumbent Dee Hammond and challengers James Garby, Jr. and Roy Guinn.

The town of Gibson will have five names of the ballot this November, with incumbents Mayor Ronnie Hudson and town Commissioner Kenneth Haney as the only current officials who filed for reelection. Hudson is unopposed, but there are four people — Haney, Belton Chavis, Myra Tyndall and Adam Liles looking to fill the three vacant commissioner seat.

East Laurinburg has three people seeking the three seat on the board. They are incumbent Tyresa Haywood and Gail Chavis. Current East Laurinburg mayor, Wayne Caulder is also seeking a seat as a commissioner.

Joni Weatherford Giles is the sole candidate filed to run for mayor of the township, however, Marshall Stevens has been announced as a write- in candidate as of on Wednesday.

In Wagram, the ballot will be filled with familiar faces, since the only residents to file are incumbents, Mayor Milton Farmer and Commissioners Hyner Massey, Jr., Paschal Stewart, and Robert McLaughlin.

Maxton had three candidates file for town commissioner seats, which includes incumbent Virgil Hutchinson, Victor Reginald Womack, Sr., and Donna Locklear.

These candidates will be the only names to be printed on ballots, but voters will still be able to write in their preferred candidate if not already listed.

Voters are not permitted to carry weapons in the precincts, cell phones must be turned off while inside and voting, and individuals are not allowed to flaunt campaign material in the precincts, according to the Scotland County Board of Elections.

Absentee ballots can be received up until Nov. 13, as long as the ballot is post marked by Nov. 7.

For election information, call 910-277-2595.

By Nolan Gilmour

Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171

Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171