Because no Republicans filed for the Orange County commissioners race, Democratic candidates will only be facing members of their own party for the open seats.
“This is not uncommon because of the political leanings of Orange County residents,” said Earl McKee, chairperson of the Board of Commissioners.
As of November 2015, approximately 48 percent of registered voters in Orange County are Democrats, as opposed to the almost 16 percent who are registered Republicans.
“Orange County primaries do have lower turnout than general elections, but nothing that falls short of the ordinary when compared to other areas,” said Tracy Reams, director of the Orange County Board of Elections.
Jamezetta Bedford, a candidate for the one of the two seats open in District 1 and a former member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education, said she anticipates the presidential primary election will draw more residents to the polls than normal.
“We are all Democrats, so it is harder to distinguish between opponents on some of the issues,” Bedford said.
Candidates are now working to bring voters’ attention to local issues with only two months until the primary race.
“It’s really important to have voters at the polls because the race will be decided on March 15,” said Mark Dorosin, District 1 incumbent.
Dorosin said the campaigns will start emphasizing the stakes of the primary in the upcoming weeks.
“I think that UNC students only really pay attention when they have really strong opinions,” UNC sophomore Laura Perrotta said.
“I would think it’s really unlikely that they would know that this local primary would determine what the general election normally would.”
The deadline for voter registration is Feb. 19, but early voting commences Mar. 3 and lasts through Mar. 12.
Voters are also able to complete same-day registration during this early voting period.
If completing same-day registration, one must vote at the early voting sites rather than on Election Day, which is Mar. 15.