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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Dueling primaries cause confusion

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Two primaries to be held on the same day for two different parties are creating confusion among some Henry County voters, according to county Registrar Elizabeth Stone.

Registered voters throughout the county can participate in Tuesday’s Democratic primary to pick the party’s candidate for lieutenant governor and attorney general in the Nov. 5 election.

Democrats seeking to run for lieutenant governor are Aneesh Chopra and Ralph S. Northam. The two candidates seeking a run for attorney general are Justin E. Fairfax and Mark R. Herring.

Patrick County voters can only vote in the Democratic primary. There are no contested House races for the primary.

Martinsville is in the 16th District, so its voters can cast a ballot either in the Democratic primary or the Republican House primary.

The confusion comes because in Henry County, only registered voters who live in the 16th House District have a choice of participating in either Tuesday’s Republican primary or Democratic primary. State law says a voter may cast a ballot in only one party’s primary, Stone added.

Also, Stone said, people are confused “because we (Henry County voters) are split three ways in the House of Delegates” districts.

Henry County is divided into the 9th, the 14th and the 16th House districts, she said.

Registered voters in the 16th House District can cast ballots for one of two choices for a GOP candidate: Les R. Adams or Kenneth L. “Ken” Bowman. (See related stories on each).

“Of the 24 precincts in Henry County, voters in only 12 precincts will be allowed to vote in the dual primary,” Stone said.

Those precincts and polling places are: Fieldale (Rangeley Ruritan Building), Axton (Axton Elementary School), Mountain Valley (MVL Club), Collinsville #1 (F-C Middle School — Entrance B), Daniels Creek (F-C Middle School — Entrance A), Collinsville #2 (Collinsville Primary School), Mountain View (VFW Building), Figsboro (Figsboro School), Stanleytown (Stanleytown Elementary School), Oak Level (Oak Level Ruritan Building), Dyers Store (Dyers Store Ruritan Building) and part of Horsepasture #2 (Horsepasture Ruritan Building).

The Horsepasture #2 precinct is split between the 14th and 16th House District because voters in the 14th District were moved from the Rich Acres Fire Department during redistricting in 2011. The 16th District voters in that precinct are those who were voting there before the 2011 redistricting.

The remaining 12 precincts are in either the 14th or the 9th house districts, Stone said.

(See county-wide list of precincts/polling places in related story, Page 4-A).

“I just hope people aren’t disappointed if they go to vote in the Republican Primary” and are unable to do so because they do not live in the 16th House District, Stone said.

She suggested that voters can know in advance by looking at their voter registration cards, which tell voters which House district they are in, Stone said. “And, if they know where they vote, that helps, too,” she added.

The deadline for absentee ballots was 5 p.m. Saturday, Stone said.

“We have mailed about 10 or 11, and they are mainly the military” who voted in the presidential election, she said. So far, “they haven’t responded.”

On Friday, she could not predict how many absentee ballots would be received in the mail by that deadline, but early in-person absentee voting has been sluggish, she said.

“We only have four voting machines set up in the office, and we only have a total of 13 votes on the two machines. That is a very good indication that turnout will be low on Tuesday,” Stone said. “I want a good turnout, but I’m worried that it’s going to be low.”

Voters also may call the Henry County Registrar’s Office at 634-4698 for more information.


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