Elissa Yount: Are you confused yet?

With all of the instant access that is available on the Internet, you may find this information redundant.

However, it is important to know how you can best affect change or improvement in your government, and the best way to start is with voter information.

On May 4, 2010 there is going to be a primary election. Now, if you are a Democrat, you can vote only for the persons who file and run as a Democrat. If you are a registered Republican, you can only vote for candidates who filed as Republicans. If you are registered as unaffiliated, you may choose which party ballot you want. This is a partisan primary, and in May the voters will choose who will be on the ballot in the November election.

Next, let’s look at dates. The filing for the May election starts at noon on February 8, 2010, and ends at noon on February 26, 2010. This applies to people who want to run as Democrats or Republicans. If you want to run as an unaffiliated candidate in the November general election, you actually have until June 25, 2010 to file. You do not have to change your party affiliation, but you do have to present to the local Board of Election a petition that includes 4% of the registered voters who could vote. In effect, we will not know who will officially be on the ballot in November until after June 25.

Now, which offices are up for election? Local offices that will be on the ballot are Sheriff, Clerk of Court, Register of Deeds, and Soil and Water District Supervisor. If you live in Districts 3, 4, or 7, you will be voting for County Commissioners. If you live in Districts 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7, you will be voting for school board members. The District 3 school board vote is to fill an unexpired term.

It would be easier to keep all this straight if the school board district and the county commissioner districts were the same. I was told that they were exactly the same, but I do not believe that the school board city ward seat follows the county commissioner district lines. The county commissioner seats held by Dan Brummitt, Danny Wright, and Scott Hughes are up for election this time. (At least the county commissioners have staggered four-year terms, unlike the city council that have their entire membership up for re-election every two years.)

Other offices are going to be on the ballot. Judges, including Court of Appeal, Superior Court and Supreme Court will be decided. District Attorney, presently held by Sam Currin, State Senator District 7, presently held by Doug Berger, US Congressional District 1st and 2nd which are held by G.K. Butterfield and Bob Etheridge, and State House District 27th and 32nd, presently held by Crawford and Wray are positions that are up for grabs.

Now when it comes to the actual location of where you vote, this has not changed. But you need to be very careful and know for whom you can actually cast a ballot. For instance, people who vote at Henderson Middle School will be voting for District 2, 3, 5, and 6 for school board and county commissioner. If you vote at the Central Fire Station, West Henderson, Districts 5, 6, and 7 will be on the ballots. For the voters at North Henderson 1, the County Office Building includes Districts 2, 5, 6, and 7.

Are you confused yet?

To show you how confusing it is, people on one side of Chavasse Avenue are in County Commissioner District 7, and people on the other side of the avenue are in District 6. (This is another reason I do not think the school board and county commissioner seats are in the same district). So when you go to vote, be sure you know which district you are in.

The Vance County Board of Elections is doing things just as they have done them for years and years and years. It is time for some adjustments.

For instance, in city elections, there are people who vote at the American Legion Hut on Garnett Street who are Ward 4 voters. Ward 4 voters mostly vote at Henderson Middle School. Why aren’t all Ward 4 voters voting at Henderson Middle School? The distance cannot be the reason, because the voting places are only a few blocks apart. It would prevent confusion in tabulating votes if the Ward 4 voters all voted at Henderson Middle School. The same thing is going on in Ward 3. Most of this ward votes at the American Legion But, some people who live in Ward 3 are assigned to vote at the Central Fire Station. Why? Again, distance and convenience cannot be the reason, because the Fire Station is only a few blocks from the American Legion. It is enough to make you feel sorry for the poll workers.

If you are not confused yet, there is more, but getting all this information is enough for today. I will save the rest to baffle you later.