ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County voters can begin casting their ballots today for next month’s municipal elections.
Voting booths open at 8:30 a.m. and will close at 5 p.m. each weekday until Oct. 30 at the Richmond County Cooperative Extension office on Caroline Street. Early voting will also be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31.
The general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Five mayors across the county — Rockingham’s Steve Morris, Hamlet’s Bill Bayless, Ellerbe’s Lee Berry, Hoffman’s Tommy Hart and Norman’s Kenneth Broadway — are all running unopposed. Dobbins Heights Mayor Antonio Blue retained his seat earlier this month after facing three challengers in his town’s election.
In Ellerbe, three candidates — Elsie Freeman, Lee Freeman and Jeremy McKenzie — are running for two open seats, one of which is vacant, the other currently held by John Sears Jr.
Four of the five sitting council members in Hoffman — Cynthia Northcutt, Rory Kevin Jones, Riccardo Anderson and Daniel Kelly — met the election filing deadline, drawing no challengers for their seats. Councilwoman Althea Sloan Cobb did not file for office.
Candidates in the town of fewer than 600 were slow to come out of the woodwork, with Anderson and Kelly filing on the final day.
If the Hoffman election yields no write-in candidates or a write-in winner declines to accept the post, Cobb would continue to serve on the town council until her successor is appointed and sworn in, according to N.C. General Statute 128-7.
Hamlet’s city council could see two or three new faces with four candidates vying for three seats.
Jonathan Buie is the only one of the three councilmen whose seats are up for grabs who filed for re-election. Pat Preslar announced in May that he would not return and was later named the interim police chief in Mount Gilead. Tony Clewis, who told the Daily Journal during the first week of filing that he was undecided, never filed.
Wendy Massagee, Gary Peele and David Lindsey are also seeking spots on the council.
Council members in Norman and Rockingham are running with no opposition.