Election filing opens

The filing period for state and local elections opened at noon today in Asheville, with four Democrats signing up to run for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners.

Commissioners Bill Stanley and Carol Peterson filed for re-election, while former Progress Energy official Vernon Dover and K. Ray Bailey, the recently retired president of Asheville- Buncombe Technical Community College, also filed.

Aside from the county board, prospective candidates have until noon on Feb. 29 to sign up for register of deeds, district court judge and state legislative seats. Candidates for other judgeships and the U.S. House of Representatives must file with the state elections board in Raleigh. Residents seeking seats on the Soil and Water Conservation Board and the Buncombe County School Board file this summer.

The primary is set for May 6, but voters can start casting ballots April 17 under the state’s early voting provision. There will be 10 sites set up around Buncombe County to acommodate early voters this year, according to Max Gough, deputy director of the Buncombe County elections board.

One of those sites — a store front at the Biltmore Square Mall — is aimed at attracting more people to vote, Gough said. It’s a first for the county, “but we think it will be one of our more active locations,” he said.

Here are a few other key dates:

• April 11: Last day to register to vote or change party affiliation before primary.
• April 17: Early voting for primary begins.
• April 29: Last day to request an absentee ballot by mail.
• May 3: Early voting ends at 1 p.m.
• May 6: Primary election. Voters narrow the field to four Democrats and four Republicans for commissioner, and one from each party for chairman.
• Oct. 10: Last day to register to vote in general election.
• Oct. 16: Early voting begins.
• Oct. 28: Last day to request an absentee ballot by mail.
• Nov. 1: Early voting ends at 1 p.m.
• Nov. 3: Last day for absentee ballots to be received by elections board.
• Nov. 4: General election.
Source: Buncombe County Board of Elections

— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor

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