Early voting under way in Dobson for primary

Tom Joyce Staff Reporter

September 25, 2013

DOBSON — Early voting for a primary in Mount Airy has gotten off to a slow start in Dobson, where an elections official hopes traffic will pick up as more people become aware of the service.

Although the primary itself is not until Oct. 8, early voting for it has been under way since Thursday at the Surry County Board of Elections in the county seat. However, city residents apparently haven’t gotten the memo.

“We’re up to three now,” Elections Director Susan Jarrell said of the total who had cast ballots there as of 4 p.m. Monday.

The primary is pitting Steve Yokeley, an incumbent South Ward councilman on the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners, against challengers Jerry A. Byrd and Jimmy D. Mitchell Jr. A primary is required in the city when three or more candidates file for a particular seat. The two top finishers will meet in the general election on Nov. 5.

Only one of the three seats affected by the 2013 municipal election in Mount Airy is contested, with Mayor Deborah Cochran and North Ward Commissioner Jon Cawley unopposed for new terms.

Voting In Dobson

Early ballots can be cast on Monday through Friday at the Surry Board of Elections through Oct. 4. The hours are 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m., with only those who are city residents allowed to participate.

The one-stop absentee voting service also will be available on Oct. 5, the Saturday before the primary, from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

It enables persons wishing to register and vote after the regular registration deadline, which was Sept. 13 in the case of the city primary, to appear in person at a one-stop absentee voting site, complete a voter-registration application form and cast ballots. They must provide proof of residence by presenting valid documents showing their present names and addresses.

“It’s super-easy,” Jarrell said.

The county elections office is on the lower level of the new courthouse.

City Early Voting

Early voting for the primary also will be available in Mount Airy, beginning on Oct. 2 and continuing to Oct. 5, in the Municipal Building at 300 S. Main St.

Hours there will be 8:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Oct. 2-4, and 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 5.

“We’re thinking that maybe why we haven’t been that busy (in Dobson) is because citizens may be waiting to vote over there,” Jarrell said of the early voting in Mount Airy.

However, the important thing is to cast a ballot somewhere, some time, the elections official added. Voting early assures that residents can fulfill their civic duty ahead of time, and avoid possible problems from waiting until the last day.

“Some voters may be planning on voting on Election Day (Oct. 8), but something may happen where they can’t get there on Election Day,” Jarrell cautioned.

She also reminded of the importance of making one’s voice known in the electoral process.

“This election is important — every election is important,” Jarrell said of the city primary.

“The people that are going to be elected make decisions for Mount Airy,” she said. “I would think every voter or citizen in Mount Airy would be very interested in this.”

Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or tjoyce@civitasmedia.com.