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While uncertainty remains in Iowa following the Democratic caucus on Monday, the local party chairs urge Wilsonians to do their research before heading to the polls either during early voting or on primary Election Day March 3.
“I think voters are smart. I think people are really doing their own research and fact checking what they are being told,” said Christy Fyle, chairwoman of the Wilson County Republican Party.
“People are not accepting propaganda from anyone, whether Democrats or Republicans. I think when they fact check and see how their everyday life has been influenced, I think they’ll question why there was an impeachment trial at all,” she said.
The Iowa caucus on Monday kicked off the initial wave of the November election, and while President Donald Trump captured 97% of the Republican votes, issues with an app delayed the results on the Democratic side. According to the 75% of votes that had been reported by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Pete Buttigieg was in the lead with 26.9%, followed by Bernie Sanders at 25.2%, Elizabeth Warren with 18.2% and Joe Biden with 15.6%.
“Technology can be excellent, but for them to use the app after everything that happened with the 2016 election makes me happy we use paper ballots in Wilson,” said Linda Cooper-Suggs, chairman of the Wilson County Democratic Party. “The coding issues on the app are going to be corrected for the states or municipalities that decide to use electronics, but if it is not perfected, they’ll have to go back to another way.”
Fyle said she believes the confusion surrounding the Democratic caucus paired with the behavior of Democrats during Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday will sway voters.
“I think North Carolina voters are keeping up with what is going on, but I think it just proves how disorganized and disruptive the Democratic Party is within itself,” she said. “I think that makes more question what is happening even more.”
While Trump does face Joe Walsh and Bill Weld during the primary, Fyle said she only gets asked about the president.
“I think it is going to be a landslide, and he is not going to have to worry about the primary at all,” she added.
Cooper-Suggs said she’s frustrated the North Carolina Democratic ballots for the primary has four candidates — Marianne Williamson, Cory Booker, Julian Castro and John K. Delaney — who have ended their campaigns.
“People who are not keeping up with all this may walk in and be confused when they see all these names,” she said. “I question how many ballots will be wasted on someone who is not even running, so I think we have to work on our balloting system in North Carolina.”
‘Every vote counts’
While Fyle said she believes Trump’s actions regarding immigration, trade agreements and the economy will remove any doubt on who to vote for, Cooper-Suggs said the Democratic candidates will serve all people, not just a subset of society.
“Our candidates are concerned about all of us, including the dreamers, immigrants, people of different races, ethnicities, religion and the LGBTQ community,” Cooper-Suggs said. “They are concerned about all of us, and that is what we need now in America.”
There are 16 Libertarian candidates on the ballot and unaffiliated or independent voters can choose whether they want to cast a Republican, Democratic or Libertarian ballot.
“I think people look at a third party because they are tired of the regular politics,” Fyle said. “I think they have seen Trump do what is best for the country, but people should make up their own minds, and that may give a Libertarian a chance to get into office.”
Cooper-Suggs said she has seen the divisiveness between the parties grow, but she believes the actions taken by Trump will sway some to the Democratic Party.
“We have two strong parties, but in the years to come, we have to look at how we can work well together,” she said. “We must come together to do the best for America. That is at a stand-still at this point.”
Regardless of which candidates voters choose, both parties urge Wilsonians to head to the polls.
“Too many people have sacrificed and fought for your right to press a button or darken a circle, so don’t become complacent because sitting at home is not the answer,” Cooper-Suggs said. “Every vote counts, and 100 votes can make a big difference in the results.”
WHEN TO VOTE
Early voting in Wilson County will begin Thursday, Feb. 13, and end on Feb. 29 at the Wilson County Board of Elections office at 112 Douglas St. in downtown Wilson. Early voting hours are 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Early voting will also be held on two Saturdays, Feb. 22 and Feb. 29; on both days, the hours for early voting are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday early voting will be held on Feb. 23, from 1-5 p.m.
The primary election is March 3. The voter registration deadline is 5 p.m. Friday at the Board of Elections office.