March 10, 2014
Over the weekend, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un was re-elected president and supreme leader. That’s no surprise, but to a democratic audience it should be noted that Kim received 100 percent of the vote and that voter turnout was nearly 100 percent.
Of course, North Korea is anything but democratic. Where voting is compulsory and there is only one candidate, the results can be predicted well in advance.
Here in Richmond County, we have more of an ability to cast a legitimate vote — even if it’s a dissenting one that some might perceive as a knock against those currently in office.
That’s not always the case. Sometimes, voters simply want change. However, the number of voters deciding an election is becomingly increasingly fewer. In the 2010 primary and general elections, which is comparable to this year’s non-presidential election, voter turnout in Richmond County was at 34 percent and 41 percent, respectively. In the 2012 presidential election, local turnout was 31 percent for the primary and 63 percent for the general election.
Think about that for a moment. In two primaries, barely or less than a third of registered voters bothered to show up. And in the 2010 May primary, only 10,280 people in Richmond County cast a ballot — less than one-third of the estimated 35,399 Richmond County residents age 18 and over.
There will be a primary election on May 6 for a local race, for the position of Clerk of Superior Court between incumbent Vickie Daniel and challenger Peggy Roach, both of Rockingham.
The position is a four-year term. According to www.nccourts.org, the Clerk of Superior Court is “has numerous judicial functions” unlike in many other states. In North Carolina, clerks have “exclusive original jurisdiction over matters relating to the probate of wills, and the administration of estates, including appointing personal representatives, auditing their accounting, and removing them from office if necessary. The Clerk also presides over many other legal matters including adoptions, incompetency proceedings, condemnation of private lands for public use and foreclosures. The Clerk is responsible for all clerical and record-keeping functions of the district and superior court. In addition, the Clerk receives and disburses money collected each year from court fees and fines.”
There are multiple deadlines of which voters should be aware:
* March 17 - Absentee voting by mail begins
* April 11 - Voter registration deadline
* April 24 - One-stop voting begins
* April 29 - Last day to request an absentee ballot by mail
* May 3 - One-stop voting ends
* May 6 - Primary election day
It’s important to note that, due to recent election law changes, no one can register to vote in person during the one-stop early voting period. Same-day registration is no longer an option.
Knowing this … there is now little to prevent you from doing what is necessary to register to vote and then cast your ballot. Hopefully you choose to do so.