Election day is Tuesday; here’s what you need to know about voting

May 13—Tuesday is big day for Democratic and Republican candidates vying for their party’s primary nomination.

Early voting ended Saturday at 3 p.m. at the three polling locations in Waynesville, Canton and Clyde. On Tuesday, voters must vote in their constituency. (See the document attached to this online story.) Those who don’t know where they are voting can use the precinct search tool on the Haywood County website.

Polls open at 6:30 a.m. in 29 Haywood precincts. Those used to voting at the Canton Armory will vote across the street in the Canton Middle School gymnasium since the flooded armory has yet to reopen. Polling stations remain open until 7:30 p.m.

The only contested races locally are the sheriff’s race, where three Republicans are vying for the GOP nomination and two Democrats are vying for the Democratic nomination.

There is a five-way contest in the race for Republican commissioners where Tuesday’s vote will narrow the slate to three.

The 11th Congressional District has a heated race on Republican and Democratic tickets as many vie to unseat incumbent U.S. Representative Madison Cawthorn.

Election process

Robert Inman, Haywood County Chief Electoral Officer, has a notebook in which he tracks voter turnout for each election. The record shows early voting turnout has been strong so far in the 2022 races.

In the 2018 midterm elections, the total number of votes cast during the early voting period was 1,910. As of Friday morning, more than 2,700 ballots had been cast in Haywood.

Inman said the election process is going smoothly and the public seems to be very happy with the process.

This includes observers who have been appointed by the chairwomen of political parties in Haywood. Observers are permitted to remain inside the voting area and observe the voting process.

The number of observers in this year’s election is a marked departure from past years, Inman said. Over the past decade there have been only a few observers, he said, but this election there has been an almost constant presence, mostly of Republican observers.

“All three sites have been involved and the Senior Resource Center has had an observer for most of the day since voting began,” Inman said. “I have no doubt that they should glean a great deal of information about the process after seeing it so close and over this extended period of time.”

Myrna Campbell, chairwoman of the Haywood County Democratic Party, said one person saw an email from the state and volunteered to serve. She named her an observer.

“I didn’t see the need to appoint more people to have a consistent presence at the polls,” Campbell said. “Election workers see this as their civic duty and take great pride in the service they provide. It sends the wrong message to have people constantly watching.”

Kay Miller, Haywood’s Republican Party chairwoman, said appointing poll watchers is a party priority across the state — and the nation — after what some believe was voter fraud in 2020.

She said so far, observers haven’t found anything noteworthy in Haywood, but suspect that’s not the case in other parts of the state.

“People here are well trained,” Miller said. “We didn’t find anything serious, but we’re going to be there because we can. We want to be involved and we want to know what’s going on. It’s part of our duty. Voting is a privilege.”

What motivates participation?

Miller attributes the high voter turnout in this non-presidential election to public dissatisfaction with high gas prices, inflation and previous election results.

“People are still really discouraged by fraud in the 2020 election,” she said. “There is always more apathy in the primaries, and it is a challenge to educate people on their importance. Maybe we should bring a little more civic-mindedness back to school.”

Although local statistics on the political party with the most voters to date were not available, statewide figures indicate that there are significantly more Republican voters participating in the election. election and many more unaffiliated voters choosing a Republican over a Democratic ballot.

Campbell said she thinks part of the reason many unaffiliated voters choose a Republican ballot is to vote against Cawthorn.

The freshman congressman repeatedly made headlines for missing votes, attempting to take arms on a plane (twice), speeding, being shown in compromising social situations on social media and his role in the events taking place on January 6, to name a few.

As unaffiliated voters aligning with Republicans are high in the May election, Campbell hopes more will end up voting Democratic in the general election.

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