4911 people voted early for Tuesday's election in Lincoln County. That's 1351 more than voted early during the 2018 primary election. If the 210 who voted absentee by mail are included, the total who have already voted is 5121, or 7.8% of the 65,232 registered voters.
Catawba County had 8049 vote early, and their total of early and absentee by mail votes is 7.6% of the county's 108,872 registered voters.
In Gaston County, 9781 people either voted early or by mail, making up 6.44% of the county's 151,873 eligible voters.
For those who are registered but have not already voted, the polls will be open from 6:30 AM until 7:30 PM. During Primary Election Day, you must vote at your precinct polling place. None of the votes will be counted until the polls close. Even so, we expect results in local races will be known fairly early. The Lincoln Herald will provide an article with a link to the NC State Board of Elections results. Unlike the old days when people crowded at the Elections Office to get the information, it is now posted on the NCSBE website as it is reported, and there is no way to get the results any quicker.
This Primary Election will likely decide many of the races since some candidates are running unopposed either in the Primary or General Election or both. In Lincoln County, the Clerk of Court and Register of Deeds races are like that. Fred Hatley and Danny Hester are unopposed. Jason Saine is unopposed for the District 97 seat in the NC House. Ted Alexander is unopposed for the District 44 seat in the NC Senate. Mike Miller is running unopposed for District Attorney.
Two Lincolnton City Council seats will be on the November ballot, but they are not on the Primary ballot since only one candidate from each party filed. Mayor Ed Hatley is unopposed in both the Primary and General Election.
Statewide, voters will choose candidates for the US Senate, and there are primaries for both Democrats and Republicans in the US House races as well. Four Republicans are challenging Patrick McHenry for the 10th District seat in Congress including Richar Speer of Lincolnton and Jeff Gregory of Shelby. The winner will face either Pam Genant of Valdese or Michael Felder of Arden in the General Election.
14 Republicans, 11 Democrats and one Libertarian filed for the US Senate seat up for election this year. The expected front-runners for the GOP nomination are former Governor Pat McCrory, Congressman Ted Budd, and former Congressman Mark Walker. Lincolntonian Drew Bulecza is also in that group. That race could produce a runoff election, but it's less likely since the laws were changed and the top vote-getter needs only to top 30% to be elected as the party candidate. The Democratic candidate is expected to be former NC Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley.
There are no contested races for Sheriff in Catawba and Cleveland counties, but two hotly contested ones in Lincoln and Gaston.
Lincoln County also has five candidates seeking two seats on the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners. Gaston County has one contested primary for County Commissioner and for one of the seats in the NC House and a Primary Election for Clerk of Court.
Both Democrats and Republicans will choose their parties' candidates for the Lincoln County Board of Education, which is a partisan election for the first time this year.
It has been a costly election, and as the old saying goes, 'you ain't seen nothing yet!' Ted Budd and Pat McCrory have spent big bucks on tv ads, and it's expected that the winner and the Democratic candidate will spend even more on the election this Fall.
Local races have also been costly.
In the Gaston County Sheriff race, Belmont Police Chief Chad Hawkins reported raising $131,616 while Mount Holly Police Chief Don Roper reported raising $100,018 in his election bid.
Based on that figure, plus the fact that 7260 people voted in the GOP Primary in Gaston, so far, the two candidates have spent an average of over $31 per vote. That figure will, of course, decrease as more vote on Primary Election Day.
Lincoln County Sheriff Bill Beam spent $30,659 according to the Elections Office. Erin Long spent $29,098. Ronnie Messer spent $9,264.
For anyone who isn't already familiar with the candidates, here are links to the Republican and Democrat sample ballots for Lincoln County: