DOBSON — Most officials probably would not want their workplaces to get overrun with people, but that’s not true of the Surry County Board of Elections in anticipating early primary voting.
“We hope we do,” Susan Jarrell, elections director, said Tuesday, of what the staff there would like to see when early voting gets under way Thursday in Dobson for the June 7 primary: large numbers of citizens.
There are only two offices at stake — the congressional seat in the Fifth District, of which Surry County is now part — and state Supreme Court associate justice.
A local man is vying for the congressional office now held by Rep. Virginia Foxx, Democrat Jim Roberts of Pilot Mountain, who launched Roberts Pest Control in Mount Airy after an Army career.
The Surry County presence in the primary could inject more interest on the part of local voters.
“We certainly hope it does,” Jarrell said.
In the primary, Roberts is vying for the Fifth District Democratic Party nomination for the congressional seat against two candidates from Boone, Josh Brannon and Charlie Wallin.
The winner will face, in the November general election, the victor of the Republican portion of the primary in which Foxx, a six-term incumbent from Banner Elk, is seeking re-election against challenger Pattie Curran of Kernersville.
Meanwhile, the race for state Supreme Court associate justice is pitting Justice Bob Edmunds of Greensboro against challengers Mike Morgan of Raleigh, Daniel Robertson of Advance and Sabra Jean Faires of Cary. The top two vote-getters will square off in the general election.
Jarrell admits that the primary process has been low-key thus far in terms of citizen interest.
“We have not gotten very many inquiries about this election at all,” she said of her staff. “We are concerned that it will be a very low turnout.”
Jarrell is hoping for a turnaround by stressing the significance of the primary, which features two important offices: the congressional seat and the state Supreme Court associate justice position. That’s especially the case regarding Congress, which influences much of the nation’s policies.
Early voting schedule
The one-stop absentee early voting period in Dobson will be the only game in town as far as being able to cast ballots ahead of Primary Day on June 7. Jarrell reminded that no satellite early voting stations will operate in Mount Airy, Pilot Mountain or Elkin.
Early voting allows citizens who are not registered to complete that process and also cast a ballot the same day — hence the “one-stop” terminology.
It begins Thursday morning in the Surry County Board of Elections office, located at 201 E. Kapp St. on the lower level of the new county courthouse.
Voting will take place from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday of this week, but will not occur on Monday due to county offices being closed for Memorial Day.
The same schedule will be in place next Tuesday through Friday.
On the Saturday before the primary day, early ballots can be cast in Dobson from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Those who are not registered won’t be able to vote on June 7.
The election that day could be viewed as a special primary, on the heels of Surry County voters having already participated in a Sixth District primary on March 15.
However, state officials scheduled a new congressional primary for June 7 after a panel of federal judges threw out two districts that reflected racial gerrymandering and ordered district lines to be redrawn.
That resulted in Surry being returned to the Fifth District it was for many years, and the opportunity for local residents to choose Republican and Democratic candidates for its congressional seat.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.