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Political notebook: Early voting numbers encouraging for final results

Just under three percent of Rowan County’s registered voters traveled to the polls Thursday and Friday.

Thursday was the first day of early voting, with the Rowan County Public Library Headquarters open. Friday was the second day and all sites were open. Just 15 minutes before polls closed on the first day of early voting, about 700 people had cast ballots. By 5:00 p.m. on Friday, a total of 1,862 people had voted, a stark increase from the first day.

An important factor in the increase is that five early voting sites were open Friday, adding to the total potential for turnout. All polls outside of Salisbury also stayed open later Friday, whereas the public library’s headquarters closed at 5 p.m.

The public library’s headquarters was, perhaps expectedly, the most frequented voter site. Though, its voter total on the Friday — 780 — is relatively similar the first day.

The next closest site in terms of total Friday turnout was the public library’s south branch in China Grove with 481 ballots cast. The American Legion Building in Rockwell was next with 347. The lowest two sites for early voter turnout on Friday were Spencer with 137 and Cleveland at 117.

Regardless of an individual polling location’s numbers, the overall amount of people that voted is encouraging for final turnout, especially when added to the number of returned absentee ballots.

Several more days remain until early voting’s conclusion, which also bodes well for turnout.

A bevy of important races — U.S. Senate, county commissioners and school board — dot Rowan county’s ballots in 2014. Being informed is vital, but turnout even more so for a simple reason.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans throughout our nation’s history fought — literally and figuratively — for the right to vote. From our nation’s forefathers demanding that taxes not be imposed without proper representation in government to the 1960s in Alabama.

The right to vote is so frequently forgotten about or disregarded as not being important in modern society. People were beaten, nearly to death, in 1965 on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. All Rowan County residents have to do is find time to make it to the polls.

If transportation is an issue, requesting an absentee ballot is an easy solution. There’s no reason why 100 percent of the registered voters in Rowan County can’t turn in ballots in 2014.

School board candidates split into two groups

School board candidates are clearly split into two.

As voters travel to early voting locations, there will undoubtedly be candidates and poll workers handing out campaign material. One leaflet that’s particularly interesting is the Rowan—Salisbury School Board.

The race isn’t partisan — political party affiliations aren’t listed on ballots. Regardless, Democrats have clearly chosen their candidates and a group of three other candidates are handing out fliers with all three of their pictures on it.

The Democrats are endorsing all the incumbents — Richard Miller, L.A. Overcash, Kay Wright Norman and Jean Kennedy.

Miller, Overcash, Norman and Kennedy have also spoken to the Democratic Party at regularly scheduled party meetings.

The Rowan County Republican Party isn’t handing out material with candidate endorsements, but Phil Hardin, Dean Hunter and Travis Allen joined together for a piece of campaign memorabilia that’s absent of anything that even resembles a political party.

The Hardin-Hunter-Allen flier has a black border. Then, it simply lists the candidates’ names and positions they are seeking.

Even if there’s no partisan affiliation between any of the school board candidates. It’s clear that two groups are banding together for the 2014 race.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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