Our Opinion: Low turnout can be turned around with voter surge today

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As an interest rate for your certificate of deposit or a glass of cold, creamy milk, 2 percent can be a good thing.

As the proportion of eligible Wilson County voters to cast ballots in today’s municipal elections, however, 2 percent is abysmal.

That’s how many people took advantage of one-stop early voting at the Wilson County Board of Elections, which ended Saturday.

Not 2 percent of our population or even 2 percent of all registered voters. Two percent of eligible voters who have municipal races on the ballot. (Residents of Wilson City Council Districts 1,2 and 4 have no contests this year due to the staggered two-year city election schedule).

Maybe most residents passed on the chance to vote early because they know Election Day voting will be quick and painless. With only one or two races on the ballot, folks can cycle in and out of the 23 precinct polling places expediently.

“With so few elections, voting can take as little as five minutes, and it is five minutes that are worthwhile,” said Wilson County Elections Director Rená Morris.

Your vote can make a difference — in North Carolina’s 2015 municipal elections, which resulted in several tiebreakers decided by coin flips or other methods of random chance, 31 contests were decided by a single vote and 69 came down to a margin of five or fewer ballots.

Here are the offices and candidates on Wilson County ballots today:

Wilson City Council District 3 — Tom Fyle (unopposed)

Wilson City Council District 5 — Mark Aldrich, Donald I. Evans

Wilson City Council District 6 — Logan T. Liles (unopposed)

Wilson City Council District 7 — Johnnie E. Chestnut, Derrick D. Creech, William “Bill” Darden

Black Creek mayor — Ralph “Mack” Smith Jr. (unopposed)

Black Creek Board of Commissioners — Ellen E. Dawson, Roland Godwin, Roland W. Lucas, Larry “Sam” Price, Lisa G. Skinner

Elm City mayor — Grady N. Smith, Gene Wells

Elm City Board of Commissioners — Dale Childress, Melvin R. Cooke, Lewis Crockett Jr., John Edwards, Cornell Mercer, Marsha Wells, Gil Wheeler

Kenly mayor — Terry Baker, Wade Troutman Jr., Bonnie Hartley Williamson

Kenly Town Council — Jackie Fisher, Trinity M. Henderson, Shane L. Lawhorn, Richard Alton Mitchell, Janna Rogerson, Mark Smith

Lucama mayor — Abelardo Fragoso Jr., J. Simpson

Lucama Board of Commissioners — Brenda Elmore Blalock, Stephen Kent Bradshaw, David A. Johnson, Peggy Batten Lamm, Patricia T. Uzzell, Tim C. Wiggs

Saratoga mayor — Charles “Tommy” Hawkins (unopposed)

Saratoga Board of Commissioners — Tomekia A. Brown, Ronald McCormick, Elaine Saunders

Sharpsburg mayor — Randy Weaver, Robert L. Williams Jr.

Sharpsburg Board of Commissioners — Randall Collie, Beverly K. Davis, Maurice Garrett, Linda Virgil

Sims Board of Commissioners — Danny Howell, Robert “Bobby” Ruffin, Courtney Warren

Stantonsburg Town Council — Donnie Bass, Jeanna Clary, James M. Fontaine, Jackie Grice, Coley Hunt Rhodes

Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. today and nearly 100 Wilson County Board of Elections employees and volunteers will be on hand to assist voters at 23 precincts.

To check your voter registration status and find your polling place, visit the voter search page on the N.C. Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement website via this shortened link: tinyurl.com/h97ln9p.

For Election Day questions, call the county elections board office at 252-399-2836.

We encourage all eligible voters to participate in today’s municipal contests and take part in choosing who will represent you on the city and town governing bodies whose decisions affect our lives each and every day.

Two percent belongs on milk cartons, not on voter turnout reports.

Wilson County can do better. Today’s the day to prove it.