Only 157 people cast one-stop votes
by Tom Joyce Staff Reporter
DOBSON — Although only 157 people cast municipal election ballots during a one-stop early voting process that ended Saturday, Surry County’s elections director could still see a silver lining in the dark cloud.
“We hope people were just waiting until Election Day,” Susan Jarrell said Monday of the 2013 municipal election process that culminates today in both Mount Airy and Elkin.
Today’s results will decide a race between Steve Yokeley, an incumbent South Ward councilman on the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners, and challenger Jimmy Mitchell. Yokeley is seeking his second four-year term on the board.
Also on the city ballot are Mayor Deborah Cochran and North Ward Commissioner Jon Cawley, who are unopposed.
Voting will occur today at five separate polling locations scattered around the city, which are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
These include the Municipal Building, Grace Moravian Church, L.H. Jones Family Resource Center, the Franklin Volunteer Fire Department station on Greenhill Road and Faith Baptist Church.
Based on the level of interest traditionally shown for municipal elections, no long lines are anticipated.
“I feel like we’re going to have a low turnout for this election, just like the primary,” Jarrell said of an Oct. 8 event in which only 5 percent of the city’s 6,734 registered voters bothered to journey to the polls.
Yokeley won that primary against two other candidates, setting up today’s general election showdown with Mitchell, the second-place finisher on Oct. 8.
Mitchell has said he believes a high voter turnout represents his only chance at victory.
Today’s low turnout prediction comes on the heels of the early voting process in which the lack of participation had the county elections director shaking her head.
“I don’t understand,” Jarrell said of why municipal residents don’t vote in larger numbers, including taking advantage of a one-stop service that even allowed those who weren’t registered to do so and vote on the same day.
Early voting ran at the Surry Board of Elections in Dobson from Oct. 17 to this past Saturday, with a satellite site operating in Mount Airy from last Wednesday to Saturday.
Of the 157 people who cast early votes at the one-stop sites, 21 did so in Dobson for the elections in both Mount Airy and Elkin — 14 from Mount Airy and seven from Elkin.
Based on figures from the elections office, 136 cast ballots at the one-stop location in the city.
Another 17 absentee by mail ballots were returned to the office during the early voting period, 11 of which were for the Elkin municipal election.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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