Early voting for New Bern runoff elections kicks off

Early voting for New Bern runoff elections kicks off
Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 7:24 PM EDT
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - Early voting for several New Bern elections opened Thursday morning.

The runoff mayoral race between former New Bern Police Chief Toussaint Summers and Alderman Jeffery Odham has drawn the most attention, but there are also several city alderman seats still vacant.

Craven County elections officials say runoff elections haven’t happened in almost ten years.

New Bern residents at the polls explained the importance of local elections.

“Bottom line is this is that a lot of people focus on the national politics and forget about the local and state level, but that’s where the rubber meets the road,” Reginald Moore said.

Early voting typically draws a larger turnout in New Bern.

County officials said more than 50% of municipal elections votes are cast during that time. They added that more than 280 voters came to the polls for Thursday’s runoff election.

“I think probably the biggest thing right now is getting more of our community activated in our drug-related issues,” Moore said. “As far as law enforcement, I think we need to have more of a social and more of an active involvement from our politicians and trying to find appropriate ways to address these and treat individuals.”

Carol Dempsey, interim board of elections director, also sees the importance of local elections.

“We can all have our national or state level [officials]. But locally, I’m not going to send the president a letter telling him I need a new park or a new swing set. But that’s very important to a local voter,” Dempsey said.

Early voting will be available on weekdays from 8 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the Craven County Board of Elections office. However, the polls will close at 3 p.m. on July 23rd.

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