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Bill Kirby Jr.: Early voting for mayor, City Council seats is underway


Outside, you found Fayetteville City Council incumbents and candidates hovered under a tent in sweltering heat and hoping to secure votes for the upcoming municipal election. 

Yvonne Kinston, the District 9 councilwoman, was fanning away the heat. Courtney Banks-McLaughlin, the District 8 councilwoman, was relaxing in a comfortable chair. Tyrone Williams, the former District 2 councilman who is running again, was in the tent, too. So was Janene Ackles, who was campaigning as a District 2 write-in.

Shakeyla Ingram, the District 2 councilwoman, was seated under a nearby shade tree.

Inside, Lynn Roger Gilfus was casting his ballot Thursday on the first day of early voting at the Cumberland County Board of Elections Office in the E. Newton Smith Center at 227 Fountainhead Lane.

“I knew who I was going to vote for and there was no reason to wait,” Gilfus said as he and his wife headed back into the summer heat. “I’m a veteran, and my wife and I are determined to vote. If you don’t vote, don’t complain.”

About 200 city residents had voted by day’s end, according to Angie Amaro, the interim director for the county Board of Elections.

Early voting continues through July 23 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturday, July 23, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Election Day is July 26 for the race between two-term Mayor Mitch Colvin and challenger Freddie Delacruz and nine council seats.

“We are set up just like a regular voting location,” Amaro said. “Only first-time voters that did not provide ID when they registered to vote will need ID. Voters who did not register to vote before the deadline July 1 may register and vote during early voting only. These voters will need to provide identification that has their name and current address.” 

What you will need  

Proper identification, Amaro says, can be any document, including a paycheck from an employer, a private bank statement, a utility bill, a property tax statement issued by a governmental agency, a vehicle registration issued by a governmental agency, a government check including any Social Security, employment, pension, benefit or reimbursement check from any government entity; a government invoice, statement or receipt; a public housing identification card, lease or rental statement; public educational institution documents, including a student card or transcript, tuition statement, invoice or receipt issued by any public educational institution; a government insurance plan care, drug discount card or drug prescription issued by a government care facility discharge certificates; pardons or other government documents issued in connection with resolution of a criminal case, indictment, sentence or other matter.  

I’m tired just listing all of that.

But wait, there’s more.

Other acceptable identification can include public transportation authority cards, invoices, receipts or correspondence, public assistance or disability agency documents, documents issued by any government shelter or temporary transitional housing facility, drug prescriptions issued by a government physician or governmental health care provider, and a college and university roster used in conjunction with a school photo ID.

Don’t blame me for telling you what you may need for early voting.  

I’m just the messenger trying to make it easy for you.  


 Amaro is right about the early-voting site. It’s just like what you’ll see at your regular polling precinct on July 26. There were election campaign signs from all of the City Council candidates, and the candidates and their campaign pollsters were there.

 Delacruz dropped by in his gigantic RV campaign vehicle. Mario Benavente, a District 3 challenger, dropped by in the late afternoon.

 For the most part, the first day of early voting was something of a laid-back day, except for that sweltering temperature.

 There are 126,989 registered city voters, according to Amaro. Of those, just 33,343 voted in the May 17 primary. That’s 16.25%. And for the record, we have 204,000 city residents.

  Well, early voting is underway, with about 200 already casting their votes. 

We’ve got a long way to go.

  “If you don’t vote,” Lynn Roger Gilfus was saying after casting his ballot, “don’t complain.” 

Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961. 


Column, Bill Kirby Jr., Fayetteville, mayor, City Council, election, early voting