More than 1,000 early votes cast

Staff report

April 29, 2014

LAURINBURG — The number of ballots cast during early voting hours in Scotland County have surpassed the 1,000 mark.

According to county elections director Dell Parker, 277 ballots were cast Tuesday — 199 at the Board of Elections and 78 at Scotland Place — for a total of 1,271 votes since the early voting period began last Thursday.

On Tuesday, the Scotland County Board of Elections approved three absentee ballots and the 994 early votes that had been cast by Monday.

“If a tornado hits, elections don’t stop,” Parker said as severe weather threatened the county. “I’m going to accommodate them if I’ve got to pull a label and write a name on a blank piece of paper. We will not stop voting in Scotland County.”

The entire voter list has been saved to a flash drive, she said, and elections can be conducted at both locations with a laptop and a printer if necessary.

According to Carolina Transparency, an organization which tracks voting activity, 64 percent of the county’s votes have been cast by blacks, who make up 40 percent of the county’s 22,205 registered voters.

Though white voters hold a small majority among registered voters with 49 percent, only 322 have voted thus far, a respective 31 percent. Three percent of voters have reported their race as “other.”

Women have dominated early voting, with 58 percent of ballots cast.

Though 130 unaffiliated voters have cast ballots, 94 percent of requested ballots have been Democratic, the party to which all candidates in the county’s contested races lay claim. Only 10 nonpartisan or Libertarian ballots have been requested.

Eighty-two percent of ballots have been cast in Laurinburg. Seventy-six ballots have been cast by those with a Wagram mailing address; 44 from Laurel Hill; 29 from Marston and 15 from Gibson. Three East Laurinburg residents have voted.

Sixty-one percent of Scotland County’s 22,205 voters are registered Democrat. The next largest voting group is unaffiliateds, at 23 percent, or 5,113. Republicans make up a much smaller chunk at 3,344, or 15 percent. Less than three dozen are registered Libertarian, or .15 percent.

For questions about early voting or the May primary, call the elections office at 910-277-2595.