LAURINBURG — Voting in the city elections for Laurinburg and Scotland County’s four other municipalities opened on Thursday with the first day of early voting at the Scotland County Board of Elections.
One-stop voting is the final chance for those who are not yet registered to vote to register and cast a ballot.
By the end of voting on Thursday, 174 people had cast ballots — somewhat less than Scotland County Elections Director Dell Parker expected, given a contentious Laurinburg mayoral election between incumbent Tommy Parker and challenger Matthew Block.
Block, a cardiologist, served one term as mayor before Parker, the owner of Parker Furniture, defeated him in 2011.
“I kind of wanted it to be busier because we’ve been pushing one-stop really hard, but hopefully the word will get out and we’ll see more people,” Dell Parker said.
“Normally with a municipal election, it’s a smaller turnout than with a general or primary, but with the mayor’s election in Laurinburg that is a pretty heated race, so I do expect a pretty decent turnout.”
According the county board of elections, the majority of voters on Thursday — 103 — were black, while 68 voters were white.
The only other contested race on the ballot in this year’s election is between two candidates to represent District 1 on the Laurinburg City Council: retired teacher Curtis Leak, who has held the seat for more than 20 years, and Restorehouse Ministries pastor Darlene Alston.
Laurinburg City Council District 2 representative Mary Jo Adams is running unopposed for a second term.
Originally, Wagram town commissioner Jackie Laviner filed to run against incumbent Wagram Mayor Milton Farmer, but with Laviner’s death this summer, Farmer is running unopposed.
There are three candidates running for three open seats on the Wagram town board: incumbents Paschal Stewart and Bernice Gorham and newcomer Kendrick Thomas. The top two vote-getters will serve four-year terms and the third will serve a two-year term.
In East Laurinburg and Gibson, all candidates are running unopposed.
East Laurinburg’s mayor Wayne Caulder, current commissioners David Cooper and Tyresa Haywood and newcomer Kenny Morton are not facing formal opposition. Commissioner Cleon Robinson did not file for re-election.
Gibson’s elections are also set up to return a set of incumbents to the town’s board: Mayor Ronnie Hudson and town commissioners Stephen Hudson and Randy Pearson.
In Maxton, there are two people running for mayor — Geraldine Graham McLaurin and Emmett “Chip”Morton.
There are also 11 people trying to gain one of the two open seats on the town board. They are: Elizabeth O’Neal McEachin Gilmore, Vigil L. Hutchinson, Cynthia Johnson, Patricia Johnson, Nathanial Malloy, James McDougald, Paul McDowell, Robert Lee McRae, Harold Seate, Jean Teeters and Victor R. Womack.
Early voting hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday voting will be offered from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 31, the final day of early voting.
Election Day is Nov. 3.
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.