Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Vote in the Charlotte primary

Primary Day for Charlotte City Council and Mayor is Tuesday.

This vote settles the races for Districts 1, 2 and 5, determining three seats on the 11–member board that governs the city of Charlotte. The districts only have Democratic candidates running, and those who win the primary face no Republican opposition in November.

Turnout in these small municipal races has generally hovered around 5 percent. You can check whether you live in those districts at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections site. Districts 1 and 5 cover a large swath of central, north and east Charlotte; District 2 covers north and west Charlotte.

Patsy Kinsey faces Owen Sutkowski in District 1, James “Smuggie” Mitchell faces Aaron “Fatso” Sanders in District 2, and Nancy Carter faces Darrell Bonapart in District 5.

You can vote early at the Hal Marshall Center at 618 N. College Street from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday or Friday, or on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Election Day hours are from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

People registered as independents can choose whether they want a Republican or Democrat ballot. The Republican ballot includes a primary for mayor, with John Lassiter facing Martin Davis and Jack Stratton.

If you haven’t registered, you can still do so and vote with one–stop voting, through Saturday. You cannot both register and vote on Election Day, Sept. 15. Here are details.

Through Sept. 8, 333 people had voted at the Hal Marshall Center, and 83 absentee by mail ballots had been approved by the Board of Elections, according to the board’s site.

In the 2007 municipal primary, voter turnout was 5 percent, with a mayoral primary, a Republican at–large council primary and one district primary, according to the board of elections’ site. Early voters totaled 1,713, and the board certified 57 absentee ballots, according to the site.

In the 2005 municipal primary, voter turnout ranged from 4 percent to 10 percent, covering a Republican primary for mayor, a Democratic primary for at–large candidates and primaries in four districts. The 10 percent turnout was in one district with a Republican primary. Early voters totaled 2,377, with 78 absentee ballots, according to the site.

Doing your research:
You can read candidate profiles and search a database of candidates’ answers to questions at The Charlotte Observer, and here are the paper’s endorsements.
And the League of Women Voters, Kids Voting Mecklenburg and Generation Engage paired up to create CharMeckVotes to provide information about candidates in Charlotte and in towns across Mecklenburg.

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