Garner leaders have asked the Wake County Board of Elections to do away with the town’s only early voting site this year because the incumbents running in the election are all running unopposed.
The move could save the town $7,000, town manager Hardin Watkins told the council this week. But whether it sets a bad precedent – in a political climate that has some suggesting the lawmakers are trying to silence the voices of minorities and young voters by reducing the number of early voting days to six – remains a question.
Gary Sims, director of Wake County Board of Elections, said he doesn’t know whether the board will go along with the town’s request since the funding is already approved. The board will consider the request this month.
Mayor Ronnie Williams, and council members Ken Marshburn, Jackie Johns and Buck Kennedy will all run unopposed in the November election. It is the first time a council has run unopposed in recent memory, according to the town.
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The discussion at Tuesday night’s work session was one of indecision, initially.
“Generally speaking I would not be too excited about diminishing the opportunity for citizens to vote and to vote early,” said Marshburn, the mayor pro-tem. “But having said that, it probably does make sense if we could save some money here, if this is the only thing on the ballot.”
Garner residents can also fill out absentee ballots and send them in or go to the Wake County Board of Elections downtown office and vote.
Candidate hit by car
One Raleigh City Council candidate’s campaign is off to a rough start.
Ashton Mae Smith, a political newcomer running against incumbent Kay Crowder in District D, was hit by a car around 9 p.m. on July 21 while walking across Hillsborough Street to West Street.
She had the right-of-way and was halfway through the crosswalk when a Kia Soul hit her going 20 mph, she said. Smith suffered injuries to her left ankle and left shoulder, but was otherwise OK. The driver was cited, she said.
Smith plans to continue her campaign and talk about her experience while advocating for a more pedestrian-friendly city.
She’s been joking about the incident on Twitter.
“You have to laugh,” she said. “I’m lucky that the worst of it is bad bruising.”
Raleigh City Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin will speak to the Wake Democratic Men’s Club on Monday, Aug. 10, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Downtown, 320 Hillsborough St. Doors open at 6 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the program at 7 p.m. Email dinner reservations to WakeDMC@mail.com by Aug. 6. Dinner is $20 for members, $23 for non-members.
Compiled by Jonathan M. Alexander and Paul A. Specht.