Early voting steady through first week

Democratic ballots outnumber Republican

Posted 2/21/20

Early voting for the 2020 primary has been steady but “slow” in Chatham County with 1,726 residents casting votes by the beginning of this week.

Voters choosing the Democratic Party ballot …

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Early voting steady through first week

Democratic ballots outnumber Republican

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Posted

Early voting for the 2020 primary has been steady but “slow” in Chatham County with 1,726 residents casting votes by the beginning of this week.

Voters choosing the Democratic Party ballot outnumber those requesting a Republican ballot by three to one — 1,299 Democratic ballots versus 415 Republican ballots, with only 12 for other ballot types.

With the Democratic Presidential nominee still undecided, that ticket could be driving some primary voters. In addition, there are Democratic Primaries for Chatham County Commissioner, currently held by Mike Dasher, and the Fourth Congressional District seat, currently held by Congressman David Price. In addition, there’s also a Republican primary for the Fourth Congressional District seat and two county-wide referenda on the primary ballot including one for a sales tax increase and one to allow malt beverage sales in the county.

Chatham County Board of Elections Director Pandora Paschal said that the turnout for early voting “seems slow.”

“I’m not sure people realize there’s a primary going on as we typically have them in May and this year it’s in March,” Paschal said.

She also noted that since many of the local candidates aren’t facing primary challengers, they may not have started their campaigning in earnest, which also drives voters to the polls.

Protesters were on-site at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center, an early voting location, on Saturday. The protesters, waving Confederate flags, were there to demonstrate against a different event going on at the center — “A House Divided – The Civil War Today,” sponsored by Chatham For All and Abundance NC.

Paschal said that when she learned of the event coinciding with the first Saturday of early voting, she had concerns that it may cause a disruption. She corresponded with the State Board of Elections, the county, and the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, making all of them aware of her concerns. But she did not receive complaints via her poll workers about the protesters. She did note that she had heard things after the fact via press reports and social media, but nothing that reached the Board of Elections office.

“Outside of the 50-feet buffer, there’s not much we can do unless they are shouting and jeering at the voters,” Paschal said.

She said it was fortunate that voter turnout was low on Saturday throughout the county, though she was unsure whether the protest had any bearing on it. On Saturday, just over 230 residents cast their votes in Chatham County versus the 493 residents who voted on Monday.

Early voting continues Monday through Saturday until Feb. 29 at four locations in the county.

Reporter Casey Mann can be reached at CaseyMann@Chathamnr.com.

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