Primary day voting updates for Asheville area, May 2022

·35 min read

The polls are closed in North Carolina for primary day May 17, when voters narrow the field of candidates ahead of the November midterm general election.

Election results including early voting and absentee ballots received so far will be announced soon. When available, results will be posted here.

From reporter Ryley Ober on Buncombe County's voter count:

These are the total numbers as of 7:30 p.m., according to a Buncombe County Government press release.

Voters in Buncombe County turned out in record numbers for the 2022 primary election. In 2018, 30,264 people voted in the primary, and as of 4:30 p.m. on May 17, more than 42,000 people had voted, with thousands more expected before closing.

Primary Election 2022 Results: See live vote totals as results are reported Election Night

“We’re so proud of how we were able to serve our Buncombe County voters,” Corinne Duncan, election services director, said. “We have 450 poll workers who work tirelessly to prepare, and we are excited to see the significant increase in turnout across all voting types. Across Buncombe County’s 80 precincts, there were no reports of any disruptions to the voting process.”

7:40 p.m.: Early voting results

The state Board of Elections has released early voting results. Here are some of the early leaders in key local races. Note that these totals reflect only early voting in Buncombe County and do not include today's votes or those from other counties.

We will not be updating this story further. Please keep an eye on citizentimes.com for breakout stories on the various races.

11th Congressional District (R)

Chuck Edwards, 3,889, 41.64%

Madison Cawthorn, 1,754, 18.78%

Matthew Burril, 858, 9.19%

11th Congressional District (D)

Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, 11,140, 68.40%

Katie Dean, 3,617, 22.21%

Jay Carey, 717, 4.40%

Asheville mayor

Esther Manheimer, 4,799, 48.34%

Kim Roney, 2,844, 28.65%

Cliff Feingold, 1,571, 15.83%

Asheville City Council

Maggie Ullman Berthiaume, 4,816, 17.59%

Antanette Mosley, 4,314, 15.76%

Sheneika E. Smith, 4,244, 15.50%

Allison Scott, 2,718, 9.93%

Buncombe County Board of Commissioners District 1 (D)

Al Whitesides, 4,239, 73.81%

Bill Branyon, 1,504, 26.1

Buncombe County sheriff (D)

Quentin Miller, 14,123, 87.79%

David Hurley, 1,964, 12.21%

Buncombe County sheriff (R)

Jeff Worley, 4,696, 59.93%

Ben Jaramillo, 2,252, 28.74%

District 40 district attorney (D)

Todd Williams, 6,089, 37.64%

Courtney Booth, 5,071, 31.35%

Doug Edwards, 4,854, 30.01%

Asheville City Schools Board of Education

Amy Ray, 2,872, 17.72%

Sarah Thornburg, 2,743, 16.93%

Rebecca Strimer, 2,487, 15.35%

Liza English-Kelly, 2,045, 12.62%

Jesse J. Warren, 1,931, 11.92%

Pepi Acebo, 1,882, 11.61%

State Senate District 46 (R)

Mark Crawford, 1,297, 54.68%

Warren Daniel, 1,075, 45.32%

State Senate District 49 (D)

Julie Mayfield, 8,511, 72.19%

Sandra Kilgore, 2,238, 18.98%

State House District 115 (R)

Pratik Bhakta, 1,573, 53.38%

Sherry M. Higgins, 1,374, 46.62%

U.S. Senate (R)

Ted Budd, 4,229, 47.94%

Pat McCrory, 3,007, 34.09%

U.S. Senate (D)

Cheri Beasley, 12,050, 76.49%

Alyssia Rose-Katherine Hammond, 998, 6.34%

7:10 p.m.: Talking City Council

John Boyle reports:

Monica McDaniel, born and raised in South Asheville’s Shiloh neighborhood, said gentrification and increasing property taxes weighed heavily on her in this election. Older people are being driven out of the neighborhood, and it’s tough for younger people to buy.

“At some point, someone has to be held accountable,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel voted for Michael Hayes for mayor, Sheneika Smith and Antoinette Mosely for City Council and for Sandra Kilgore for the state senate.

6:55 p.m.: Inflation a key issue

From reporter Joel Burgess:

Wanda Christopher, 62, arrived to vote in the early evening at Emma Elementary School just west of Asheville city limits.

Christopher, who is Black, said she was voting a straight Democratic ticket.

“Democrats to me are more for the people, for the poor,” she said.

If elected, those candidates should “focus on inflation,” she said.

6:50 p.m.: Voting against Cawthorn, primarily

Reporter John Boyle talked with voters in South Asheville.

Leicester resident Erica Wahlers, 26, a flight attendant, said she came out to vote mainly because of the congressional race. She thinks voting is an important right and privilege, but she had a different main motivation.

“I also don’t want to see Madison Cawthorn in office,” Wahlers said. “That’s mainly what I’m here for, to be honest.”

Wahlers was voting in the Democratic primary and wanted to have the strongest candidate opposing Cawthorn in November. She believes the freshman congressman “really doesn’t represent good values.”

“He tries to talk the talk, but he doesn’t walk the walk,” Wahlers said. “He’s all over the internet, getting caught, getting arrested, getting his license revoked. Not good form. I don’t think he’s a good person, so I don’t really want him around.”

She was still up in the air on who to vote for but said she likely would make a last-minute decision.

6:45 p.m.: In support of Williams

Joel Burgess reports from Emma Elementary.

Liz Allen said she was supporting incumbent Todd Williams for district attorney in the Democratic primary over Courtney Booth and Doug Edwards.

“I just like the work he does,” said the 42-year-old legal assistant, adding she was also swayed by his endorsements. Those include attorney James Ferguson, who was part of the state’s first integrated law firm, and state Sen. Julie Mayfield.

“I think that he has a good history. He's really responsive to finding solutions to and to being accountable.”

6:35 p.m.: Asheville City Council was her main driver

From reporter John Boyle:

Eileen Winkelman, 70, from South Asheville, said the Asheville City Council race was the main driver for her voting. She’s a registered Republican and retired after a career as an advocate for the business of chemistry, working in the White House and the U.S. Senate.

“I think Asheville is regressing rather than progressing, because most of the people serving as mayor and on City Council have been entrenched for such a long time,” Winkelman said.

She wasn’t comfortable revealing whom she was voting for specifically, but asked if she wanted to see some new faces on the council, she said, “Big time.”

On the District Attorney’s office, all she was say is the incumbent is very entrenched.

On the congressional race, she said, “All I can say is I’d like for us to have someone who can be elected in November.”

6:20 p.m.: A frustrated Republican votes against Cawthorn

John Boyle reports from South Asheville.

South Asheville resident Kathie Swearingen, 73, said the congressional race was the main driver for her voting in the primary. She’s a registered Republican but says she leans liberal on some issues.

Mainly she is not impressed with the current holder of the office, U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-Hendersonville, though she would not name him.

“To be perfectly honest, I cannot tell you the name of the person I voted for,” Swearingen said. “It was more voting against someone. I think when the ballots are counted, it will be obvious.”

While Swearingen, a retired social worker and public schools worker, wouldn’t name Cawthorn, she did say she “had such high hopes” for him when he went into office. But after the scandals and what she considers obvious lies Cawthorn has told, Swearingen said she’s done.

“In these times, we just need someone with a little more life experience,” she said.

Wearing a bright red dress and red-framed glasses, Swearingen said she wasn’t rocking the red apparel in support of the GOP.

“It was the only thing I didn’t have to iron,” she said with a hearty laugh.

Getting more serious, Swearingen said she’s been disappointed with some of the stances of the Republican Party, particularly the Roe v. Wade news about the Supreme Court being likely to overturn that ruling that allows abortion in America.

“I don’t think they’re in the 21st century,” she said.

6:10 p.m.: New resident weighs in

Andrew Jones reports from Ira B. Jones Elementary.

Jim Graham
Jim Graham

Jim Graham, 80, said moved to Asheville in January after buying a house two years ago, gutting and revamping it. He said he voted to reelect Esther Manheimer as mayor and Will Hornaday for Asheville City Council.

“My neighbors all seem to know and like him,” Graham said, noting he wasn’t familiar with a whole lot of issues, but said development stood out. “Building seems to be a big, big issue. Unfortunately so many administrations consider development as a kind of measuring post. If things didn’t grow during their administration, they don’t feel that they’ve been successful. Unfortunately, other than affordable housing, already I feel like this town’s getting overdeveloped.”

Graham added he felt the 11th Congressional District needed to “get rid of” Madison Cawthorn. “He’s become a national embarrassment.”

6:05 p.m.: A Democrat voting Republican to oppose Cawthorn

From reporter John Boyle:

Rebecca Brown, 38, a historian and Democrat who lives in South Asheville, said the biggest races for her were the U.S. Senate and House of Representative. For the first time ever, Brown said, she voted in the Republican primary.

“Cawthorn has to go,” Brown said. “We’re probably going to have a Republican anyway, being in this district, but Cawthorn has to go. I’m aware that whoever has the primary will probably take the general for N.C. 11 – I don’t want it to be him.”

His flurry of scandals played a role, but also the speech he gave on Jan. 6, 2021 to Trump supporters in Washington, D.C., weighed heavily on her.

“He’s not fit for office, among other issues, and he supported and probably helped with Jan. 6,” Brown said, referring to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. “So, regardless of my feelings about either party, I have a duty to vote him out if I can.”

Brown said she voted for Democrats in the nonpartisan races.

6 p.m.: Looking local

Sarah Honosky reports from West Asheville.

Abbey Reed (left) and Alena Klimas
Abbey Reed (left) and Alena Klimas

Abbey Reed, 26 and Alena Klimas, 26

On their way into the bustling West Asheville Library precinct, both Reed and Klimas said it was important to them to turn their attention to local elections.

"Think about things you can control," said Reed, especially amid an "upsetting" national political landscape.

Klimas noted the infusion of millions in federal relief dollars being allocated by Asheville City Council and said she felt local races were "where we can have the most impact."

Reed, a teacher, said she was particularly interested in the future of Asheville City Schools and was excited to see an incoming elected board.

She and Klimas both named Amy Ray as a candidate that had their support.

With school district budget deficits, dropping enrollment and a need for strong student health services, Reed said she wanted to see candidates who would push those issues to the forefront.

Klimas agreed.

"We need good people on the school boards who will stand up for all the kids," she said.

Susie Heller (left) and Han Goldstein
Susie Heller (left) and Han Goldstein

Han Goldstein, 27 and Susie Heller, 26

Goldstein and Heller said they moved to town less than a year ago and settling in meant getting involved in the community in small ways -- like volunteering at community gardens or patronizing local businesses -- or big ways, said Heller, like voting.

"We're in this community, we want to be part of it, have our voice heard, and see the needs of our community be met," she said.

Standout issues include reparations, making sure the needs of the city's unhoused population are met and environmental issues, Heller said.

Goldstein said she was most interested in local races, like the mayoral and city council races, and said Kim Roney stood out as a candidate and was someone they saw often around the community.

"I think that voting of any caliber, or degree, is super important," she said.

5:45 p.m.: City Council the main draw

From reporter Andrew Jones:

Robert Hing
Robert Hing

Robert Hing, 52, voted at Ira B. Jones Elementary and said Asheville City Council was what brought him to the polls.

“I’m not happy with the City Council that we have. I vote non-partisan and just for City Council, he said.

Hing said he felt the current council was inefficient and lacked transparency and “catered to the homeless.”

Hing voted for Cliff Feingold for Asheville city mayor. “He seems to be taking a different direction than where City Council’s going now,” he said.

5:30 p.m.: Climate a key issue

Andrew Jones reports from Ira B. Jones Elementary School.

Patti and Steve Stevens
Patti and Steve Stevens

Steve Stevens, 70, and Patti Stevens, 72, are retired high school teachers who worked for Buncombe County Schools. Patti Stevens, who said she was a registered Democrat, taught English and Steven Stevens taught science.

“It would be nice to think in a perfect world that we would be here for issues,” Steve Stevens said. “But anymore, we’ve really digressed in my humble opinion.”

He said he felt like the “conservative approach” was much more detrimental to the nation. Specifically he mentioned climate change and said having candidates concerned about climate change’s local impact would get his attention.

“Even though it’s a dead gorgeous day, our climate is changing globally.”

Patti Stevens said media online and in print “certainly influenced” their decision making this cycle. Steve Stevens decried what he called “tribalism” in American politics, sentiments his wife echoed. “That’s an old notion that still exists,” Patti Stevens said.

5:15 p.m.: City of Asheville thoughts

Joel Burgess reported from the Wesley Grant Southside Center.

Jakia Baird
Jakia Baird

Voter Jakia Baird, 35, said candidates she came to support included Michael Hayes, a challenger in a five-way mayoral primary, and the two incumbents in the City Council primary: Antanette Mosley and Sheneika Smith. That races features 11 names on the ballot.

The mayoral and council races are nonpartisan.

Baird, who works in child care and voted at the Wesley Grant Southside Center with one of Asheville’s greatest concentration of Black residents, said she knew Hayes and Smith from growing up in the area.

“I know they're there for the community, especially their own community,” she said referring to the candidates by their first names.

The incumbents had done a good job, she said, “and just seeing where Michael came from to now.”

5:05 p.m.: Issues, not politics

Francina Edmonds
Francina Edmonds

Reporter Andrew Jones was at Ira B. Jones Elementary and talked with voter Francina Edmonds, 39, a realtor in Buncombe County.

“I have a lot of disdain for party politics right now, but there are some issues that really got me excited," Edmonds said. "Housing is one of them. I see the housing shortage really needs drastic intervention but also equitable intervention. It affects everything.”

She said local candidates who focus on issues that matter to her include Taylon Breeden who is running for state Senate in District 49, and Kim Roney who is running for Asheville mayor and Andrew Fletcher, who is running for City Council.

5 p.m.: Volunteering

Reporter Joel Burgess was at Wesley Grant Center.

Voter Richard Shaw was out on primary day volunteering for Doug Edwards, one of three Democrats in a district attorney primary. Edwards is competing against fellow newcomer Courtney Booth and incumbent Todd Williams.

Shaw, a 74-year-old retiree who has lived in Asheville since the 1970s, was talking to voters at the Wesley Grant Center. He said he has known Edwards’ in-laws for decades and was impressed with his attitude about the role of chief prosecutor.

“I was impressed with what he said about the office. And I do think the office needs some guidance and some stability. And he can offer that.”

4:45 p.m.: Candler voters share their thoughts

Reporter Ryley Ober talked to voters at Enka Candler Library.

• "I tend to vote for women, so I wanted to make sure we have more female representatives in our public offices." - Kory Clement, Candler, 49, works for a renewable energy company.

Biltmore Lake resident Eric Tiger voted at Enka-Candler library polling location on May 15, 2022.
Biltmore Lake resident Eric Tiger voted at Enka-Candler library polling location on May 15, 2022.

• "I want to make sure it's gonna be somebody who's gonna beat Madison Cawthorn." - Eric Tiger, Candler, 60, retired physician.

Candler resident Leslie Starkey voted at the Enka-Candler library polling location on May, 17, 2022.
Candler resident Leslie Starkey voted at the Enka-Candler library polling location on May, 17, 2022.

• "I'm always a strong, passionate advocate about gun safety and legislation regarding that. And not necessarily anti-guns and banning them, just safety for all." - Leslie Starkey, Candler, 46, teacher.

4:40 p.m.: More from West Asheville

Reporter Sarah Honosky talked with voter Zach Sykes, 31, at Calvary Baptist Church.

Sykes was one of the few voters to exit the doors of the Calvary Baptist Church voting precinct during an afternoon lull.

While unhappy with Madison Cawthorn's representation in the House, he said local implications of the races were his focus at the polls today, though he always makes an effort to vote.

The mayoral race was among those he was watching, he said, and he feels there are local interests being left behind by the current council.

"I understand that, to a certain extent, tourism is what gives us jobs here, it makes Asheville what it is in a lot of ways, but I think there is a better way to do it that can also be inclusive to the people who actually live here," Sykes said.

He said Kim Roney is the candidate who better represents his ideals. He noted affordable housing and proper treatment of the city's homeless population as driving issues.

4:35 p.m.: Voter count update

From a news release sent by Buncombe County:

As of 4 p.m., we have one precinct that has not reported and 17,505 voters have turned out bringing the total to more than 42,000 people who have now cast their votes in Buncombe County. More than 24,500 voters took advantage of early voting. You can see a breakdown of how many people voted at each precinct here.

Currently, First Born Baptist Church is maintaining the highest voter turnout with 412 people followed by Ira B. Jones with 396 voters. Those who haven’t voted yet can check the wait counts here.

At approximately 7:30 p.m., election results including early voting and absentee ballots received so far will be announced. When available, results will be posted here.

4:25 p.m.: Navy veterans on opposite sides

Brian Gordon reports from West Asheville.

(From left) Cary Cole and Ron Debbrecht
(From left) Cary Cole and Ron Debbrecht

Ron Debbrecht and Gary Cole don’t agree on politics, but the erstwhile strangers are spending the afternoon outside their West Asheville polling site swapping tales about their shared Navy experiences.

“You’re not a real sailor if you don’t have sea stories,” said Ron Debbrecht, a 63-year-old retired elevator mechanic.

“Those were the good old days,” added Gary Cole, 71, who used to own a sheet metal business in Weaverville.

Debbrecht is a Republican. Cole is a Democrat. Lounging on camping chairs under the cover of an electric car charging station, the two veterans are handing out their parties’ candidate guides to voters entering the polling station at the Land of Sky Regional Council.

But mostly, they’re talking to each other. At one point, Debbrecht set up a joke by asking “What’s the difference between a fairytale and a sea story?”

Without missing a beat, Cole gives the punchline, which is a bit too explicit for this newspaper to publish.

“It’s just about having a sense of pride and duty to the county,” Cole says of his time in the Navy. Debbrecht nodded in agreement.

As the afternoon ticks on, their conversation drifted from their services to more quotidian matters like the best mulch for gardening.

However, there was one topic the Republican Debbrecht wouldn’t touch on. Asked who he supported in the much-watched 11th Congressional District race featuring incumbent Madison Cawthorn, he said he’d rather not share.

4:15 p.m.: A downtown voter

Reporter Andrew Jones talked with a voter at Unitarian Universalist Church off Charlotte Street.

Robert Wilson
Robert Wilson

Robert Wilson, 32

Wilson said he voted because local issues mattered as much as state issues. He said he didn’t always vote a straight ticket, but definitely wanted Madison Cawthorn out of office and didn’t want 11th District candidate Bruce O’Connell to win. When asked what he’d say to younger voters who are on the fence come the general election, he said, “If you do care about the future of the country and your own political causes, voting in local primaries and general elections is probably the most important place to start.”

4 p.m.: What some West Asheville voters are saying

Reporter Sarah Honosky reports from Lucy S. Herring Elementary School in West Asheville.

Paul Pennell, 58

Pennell said he was driven to the polls by "a few names in particular," like those who he knew would support LGBTQ issues, such as Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Kim Roney and Pepi Acebo, he said.

"Anything that stands out for trans rights, social equality, anyone like that that sticks out, we stand up for," Pennell said. "We trust them for supporting rights for us."

Though he said he felt "a little bit less informed than normal," he would never not vote.

"We need to have good people up there against some of the crazies on the other side," he said.

John Dawson
John Dawson

John Dawson, 32

For Dawson, it's also personal. His mother, Sandra Kilgore, is running for N.C. Senate, and he wanted to come out to the polls to support her. Kilgore currently sits on Asheville City Council.

"She's throwing her hat in another race, so that's a big part of it," Dawson said. But even without her name on the ballot, he said he always comes out to vote.

"It's important to get out here and make sure your voice is heard and represented. A lot of people fought hard for us to have the ability to even participate in things like this, so it's important."

Dawson also has his eye on the City Council race.

"That's one of the things that's typically overlooked," Dawson said. "They're small-scale local elections, but they have a big-time impact on the city."

Courtney Pinkerton
Courtney Pinkerton

Courtney Pinkerton, 45

Pinkerton said issues like smart growth for the city, environmental efforts and women's bodily autonomy were among the top issues that encouraged her to cast her ballot.

Courtney Booth, running for district attorney, was a standout candidate, Pinkerton said, and she was impressed with Booth's stance on abortion. She was also hopeful to see a win by Jasmine Beach-Ferrara (Democrat, 11th District) and said she found her "competent and inspiring."

"Every ballot feels precious," Pinkerton said. "And it was very satisfying to hear that 'thunk' of my vote going in. Just gratitude."

3:45 p.m.: Madison County voters weigh in

Johnny Casey, of Madison County's News-Record and Sentinel, reports from Marshall.

Pat McFee, a former fiscal officer and supervisor with the county, has worked election days in Madison County for more than 30 years.

"We've had a pretty decent turnout for a midterm," said McFee, precinct judge at the North Marshall precinct. "(Through 12:30 p.m.,) we've had about 130 votes cast, and that's probably decent for a midterm. If it was a general election, or a presidential election, there would be a lot more."

As of 3:30 p.m., 209 votes were cast at the North Marshall location of Madison Early College High School.

Throughout the county, 1,429 votes have been cast through 3:30 p.m., according to Civitas Institute's Carolina Elections VoteTracker website.

Victoria Baker
Victoria Baker

Victoria Baker

Baker has lived in Madison County for nearly 30 years.

"One reason I'm coming out is because of Buddy Harwood, because I think he does a great job as sheriff," said Baker, who, along with her husband, is an unaffiliated voter. "We can kind of go both ways, if we wanted to, and then for the main election, we may do something different altogether."

Beth Detwiler
Beth Detwiler

Beth Detwiler

Detwiler, a play facilitator with Kith and Kin Play Days, said she thought it was important to vote, and showed up to the polls to do her civic duty.

"I'm concerned about the school board race, in general, specifically, but also our sheriff candidates," Detwiler, 54, said.

3:10 p.m.: What voters in Arden are saying

Reporter Ryley Ober talked with voters at New Hope Presbyterian Church in Arden.

• "I would like the right person to go up against Cawthorn. He's gotta go." - Jullie Jordan Avritt, 46, from Arden.

• "Cawthorn made an ass of himself in public. Serving our country? And that's with a big question mark." - Anne Justice, early 80s, Arden, retired.

(From left) Walt and Anne Justice voted at New Hope Presbyterian Church in Arden.
(From left) Walt and Anne Justice voted at New Hope Presbyterian Church in Arden.

• "It's a great day to vote. And we appreciate everything on the ballot." - Anne Justice with Walt Justice, early 80s, Arden, retired.

• "Even though I don't agree with all (Republican Chuck Edwards') politics, I think he is fair and a good representative for his district (11th). He uses his brain and I'm hoping that he will be aware that a lot of Democrats moved to support him in this election and that he will represent the middle of his constituency." - Pat Koonts, 82, Arden, retired.

(From left) Alex Willis, 30, and Sierra Cranford, 30, voted at New Hope Presbyterian Church in Arden.
(From left) Alex Willis, 30, and Sierra Cranford, 30, voted at New Hope Presbyterian Church in Arden.

• "Bo Hess (11th District Democratic candidate) is a climate supporter, so that was important for us. Pro choice as well." - Alex Willis, 30, Arden, Geotechnology engineer.

• “I voted for Jasmine (Beach-Ferrara, 11th District Democratic candidate). We both did. I liked the way she represented herself, and she’s of a progressive nature.” - Kenneth Lambert with his wife Gwen, 80s, Arden, retired.

• "I think Americans should vote every time." - Tere Shelton, Arden, 73, in response to what issue brought her out to vote.

2:55 p.m.: Updated voting numbers

Buncombe County sent a news release about voter turnout so far today.

As of 2 p.m., 13,181 voters have turned out bringing the total to more than 37,600 people who have now cast their votes in Buncombe County. More than 24,500 voters took advantage of early voting. You can see a breakdown of how many people voted at each precinct here.

Currently, First Born Baptist Church has experienced the highest voter turnout with 304 people followed by Murphy-Oakley Community Center with 287 voters. Those who haven’t voted yet can check the wait counts here.

2:45 p.m.: Early voting way up

Ryley Ober reports from a news conference earlier today about voting in Buncombe County.

Buncombe County Director of Elections Corinne Duncan speak at a primary election day press conference on May 17, 2022.
Buncombe County Director of Elections Corinne Duncan speak at a primary election day press conference on May 17, 2022.

Early voting is much higher this year than in 2018 (the last comparable election). In 2018, 9,146 people participated in early voting. This election, early voting numbers are about 24,500.

"it's hard to predict turn out on election day because voting patterns are changing, said Corinne Duncan, elections director. "Traditionally, half of people vote early in a primary election and half vote on election day, so if that trend holds, we will see about 25,000 voters today. But there has been a shift towards early voting nationally. But still there's a lot of people who love to voting on election day because it can have more of a holiday feel, a lot of people want to go with their friends or family and you are more likely to run into your neighbors."

2:30 p.m.: Report from Black Mountain

Ezra Malle was at Black Mountain Primary School earlier today:

The precinct at Black Mountain Primary School serves Black Mountain as well as Montreat. As of 11:15 a.m., according to Joe Hagan, chief judge, the precinct had served 59 voters.

"It's been running smoothly," Hagan said. "I understand in the county things are going pretty well. One thing that may have helped this day being a little easier was the good early voting turnout."

Hagan said Black Mountain had "really good" early voting turnout. He said he himself voted early at the Black Mountain Library.

Though the precinct at Black Mountain Primary offers drive-through voting, Hagan said no one has utilized the service so far.

Kyle Cole
Kyle Cole

Kyle Cole

Cole, a journalism instructor at Warren Wilson, voted Democrat in the 11th Congressional District, saying he "would never vote for a Republican." Cole said he liked Jasmine Beach-Ferrara for her liberal ideals.

Cole said he also liked Bill Branyon, a Democrat running for Buncombe County Board of Commissioners District 1, for his investigation into "the Raytheon deal."

Madelane Watson
Madelane Watson

Madelane Watson

Watson, 30, said she was motivated to vote because of the district attorney race as well as the House seat for NC 11.

"I would love to see us get literally any different person in Congress," Watson said. "Literally anyone other than Madison Cawthorn would be great."

As a member of the LGBTQ community, Watson voted for Jasmine Beach-Ferrara in the Democratic primary for the congressional seat, hoping to see herself represented. Additionally, as a clinical mental health counselor, Watson said seeing that Beach-Ferrara has worked to help those impacted by the opioid crisis was compelling.

Watson also hopes to see Courtney Booth win the race for Buncombe County district attorney.

"She is the only female running in the election," Watson said. "If she gets elected she will be the first female district attorney that we've had in the county."

Watson said Booth's platform seems very progressive. She said since Booth has experience as a public defender, this shows her investment in the community to see positive change.

According to Watson, despite current District Attorney Todd Williams' promises for change, she hasn't seen him follow through. She said though it's a long shot for Booth, her push for office has been good to see.

2:15 p.m.: The Cawthorn conundrum

Heading into today's primary, we have heard anecdotally that some voters who were registered Democrats switched to unaffiliated so they could vote in the Republican primary and against Madison Cawthorn, the Hendersonville Republican who is running for reelection in the 11th Congressional District.

Not every Democrat thinks that's a good idea.

Reporter Ryan Oehrli caught up with Diane Amos, a precinct chair with the Democratic Party.

"I'm a precinct chair, and several of my Democratic, unaffiliated voters have said, 'Ah, maybe I should pick up a Republican ballot because I really want to get Madison Cawthorn out.' And I said, 'Please don't do that. What you're doing is you're wasting five good votes of five races that are needed,' like sheriff and U.S. Senate and North Carolina Senate.

"Once I do explain that to them, they do come around and then they say, 'Yeah, you're right. I'm not gonna vote Republican. I'm gonna vote Democrat."

1:55 p.m.: Made it to the polls

Ryan Oehrli reports from the Weaverville Community Center:

Patrica Banks
Patrica Banks

Patrica Banks, 66, of Weaverville, said she had the wrong precinct at first, but was firm about her disapproval of Democrats before heading to the right one. A chief judge at a different Weaverville precinct said there had been some confusion among voters about polling places.

"Republicans believe in what I believe in: the Christian faith," she said. "I'm not for abortion at all. ... I don't like what's going on in Washington right now. I'm totally against it -- everything. All of them. All the Democrats."

1 p.m.: City school board thoughts

As noted below, the Asheville City Schools Board of Education members will be selected by voters rather than being appointed.

Reporter Ryan Oehrli talked with a voter about this.

Daniel Bridgeman
Daniel Bridgeman

The Board of Education, I think, is a really important one, but eight out of eight are going to the next round, so it's kind of silly," said Daniel Bridgeman, 50. "But that, to me, was a really important one."

(Note: there are nine candidates)

Bridgeman said he voted for the candidates endorsed by the Asheville City Association of Educators: Jesse Warren, Amy Ray, Rebecca Strimer and Liza English-Kelly.

"The fact that we have (that election now) is huge."

12:30 p.m.: Woodfin voters

Reporter Andrew Jones talked with voters at the Woodfin Community Center.

Barbara Lamb, 87, said she voted for Rod Honeycutt in the Republican primary for the 11th District seat occupied by Madison Cawthorn in the U.S. House "because I know him personally." She said affordable housing was top issue for her.

Ruth Gee, 74, said she voted a straight Democratic ticket. "This is too important. Particularly since I'm African American. People have died for my right to vote. I don't think I've missed more than one election." Gee said she was from Mississippi originally and abortion was an important issue.

11:50 a.m.: Fairview voters reveal their choices

Reporter Ezra Maille talked with some voters at the Fairview precinct.

Mary Demelfy
Mary Demelfy

Mary Demelfy

• Voted for Rod Honeycutt in Republican primary NC 11, running against Madison Cawthorn. "I thought he was qualified, looked like he had experience."

• Voted for Warren Daniel for state Senate

Jim and Sarah Holtzman
Jim and Sarah Holtzman

Jim and Sarah Holtzman

• Voted for Quentin Miller for Sheriff "I like his politics," Sarah said.

• Voted Democrat for NC 11, but declined to say who they voted for. "We didn't vote for Madison Cawthorn," Jim said. "We did our best to vote against Madison Cawthorn. There are a thousand and one reasons why."

Susan Cohen (left) and Margaret Williams
Susan Cohen (left) and Margaret Williams

Susan Cohen, 59

• Came out to vote specifically against Cawthorn and voted "for a republican challenger to Madison Cawthorn," she said, due to her "dismay with how he handles himself and everything he stands for. I was a Democrat who changed to unaffiliated so I could vote against him."

Margaret Williams, 23

• Voted Democrat in NC 11, disagrees heavily with Cawthorn.

• Voted for Quentin Miller for Buncombe County sheriff.

11:10 a.m.: Buncombe County update

This is from a news release by Buncombe County:

As of 10 a.m., 4,548 voters have turned out bringing the total to more than 29,000 people who have now cast their votes in Buncombe County. More than 24,500 voters took advantage of early voting. You can see a breakdown of how many people voted at each precinct here.

So far, First Born Baptist Church has experienced the highest voter turnout with 139 people followed by St. Eugene Church and Tempie Avery Montford Community Center both with 100 voters.

10:45 a.m.: What's happening in Weaverville

Ryan Oehrli reports from Weaverville:

John Bowen, chief judge for the Weaverville Town Hall precinct, said that by 10:25, 57 people have voted today, so far.

There's been a "relatively even flow, with no great rush," he said.

Bowen said the relatively low primary day turnout is at least in part due to an early voting system that's had "great publicity."

Bowen did say there's been some confusion about where people should vote as precincts have changed.

"They’ve sent out cards, but still people are (confused)," he said. "There's been quite a bit of people having to go to other precincts. It’s early in the day, so they’re good natured about that."

9:45 a.m.: Some voter numbers

Ryan Oehrli reports that as of 9:30 a.m. poll workers at Tempie Avery Montford Community Center said 65 people had voted there so far today. And as of about 9:40 a.m., 42 people had voted at Stephens Lee Community Center.

Meanwhile, Black Mountain News reporter Ezra Maille said at 9:24 a.m. that voting was "really slow" at Black Mountain Primary, and that nobody had voted there during the previous half hour.

9:40 a.m.: City Council

Eva Snyder
Eva Snyder

Ryan Oehrli reports from Tempie Avery Montford Community Center:

Three Asheville City Council seats are up for grabs this year.

Eva Snyder, 31, talked about her choices. She said she voted for Antanette Mosley, Andrew Fletcher and Maggie Ullman.

"There were a lot of good candidates," she said. "I was looking for candidates who had a plan to address housing affordability, and also had a way for that plan to address climate resiliency and the city's plan to transition to renewable energy. So, I looked for candidates who called out both of those things."

Snyder said she had known going in that she was going to vote for Jasmine Beach-Ferrara in the Democrat primary for the 11th Congressional District seat and Democrat Cheri Beasley in the race for the U.S. Senate seat that will be left open by the retirement of Republican Richard Burr.

9:10 a.m.: DA race

Todd Williams is the incumbent Buncombe County district attorney, and he has some challengers in the Democratic primary.

Nancy Smith
Nancy Smith

Reporter Ryan Oehrli got some insight into how one vote was cast.

Nancy Smith, 48, a paralegal, said she voted for Courtney Booth.

"She's a public defender," Smith said. "She's a female. And she believes in alternatives to incarceration and diversion programs, which are desperately needed in our community, especially for our young people."

8:45 a.m.: Asheville school board

It's a historic occasion for the Asheville City Schools Board of Education. Board members had been appointed, but the General Assembly passed a measure requiring the school board be elected for the first time and expanded from five to seven members.

Caroline Knox with her children Adeline, 8, and Jensen, 5.
Caroline Knox with her children Adeline, 8, and Jensen, 5.

Reporter Ryan Oehrli spoke with a voter at Tempie Avery Montford Community Center about the school board race.

Caroline Knox, 41, a physician, said she voted for Sarah Thornburg, Jesse Warren, Rebecca Strimer and Amy Ray, who she said have "a really solid history of being great community advocates and advocates for children in schools."

Knox brought her two children, 8-year-old Adeline and 5-year-old Jensen. It was Jensen's first time at a polling place.

8 a.m.: More on the 11th District

Reporter Ryan Oehrli checked out a voting site at Montford and spoke with a voter who talked about the 11th District race for the U.S. House seat held by Republican Madison Cawthorn.

William Mackinnon
William Mackinnon

William Mackinnon, 73, said he voted for Katie Dean in the Democrat primary.

"I think she's got her head on straight," Mackinnon said. "I think she's responsive. She's a listener instead of being a talker. I think she has the right approach for many of the issues that are important locally."

On the elections generally, he said: "I found myself gravitating toward people that were incumbent because I figured that they had the working relationships that they needed to be able to get things done."

Mackinnon said he is generally fed up with "craziness" from "the other side of things" —the alt-right, "great replacement theory," etc., especially after the Buffalo shooting.

7:40 a.m.: A vote against Cawthorn

Reporter Ryan Oehrli is out at the polls and talking to voters. One man he spoke with at Stephens Lee Community Center in Asheville said he had at least one particular reason for voting today.

Luke Ervin
Luke Ervin

Luke Ervin, 27, of Asheville came out to vote on one issue, or person -- Madison Cawthorn. Though he preferred not to say who he voted for, he said he came to primary Cawthorn out.

"I mean, it was more of a protest vote, just knowing that he was very likely to move on to the general election," said Ervin, who said he works in the outdoor recreation industry. "So, after coming here, I thought I was going to throw away my vote, just to make that protest against him. I just think he's a despicable human."

7:30 a.m.: Short waits, so far

Buncombe County Election Services has a handy feature that shows how many people are waiting to vote at polling locations around the county.

The numbers are approximate and are updated only as often as poll workers are able to. But as of around 7:30 a.m., you won't have a long wait to vote anywhere in the county. The longest wait lines listed were six, at Pole Creek Baptist Church in Candler and Enka Middle School.

6:45 a.m.: I'm sick but I want to vote — how can I do that?

You can still vote even if you if you have a disability, illness, mental health condition or other factor that makes it difficult, uncomfortable or impossible for you to vote inside a voting precinct. Every polling location offers curbside voting, says the website of the North Carolina State Board of Elections. You can vote from your car.

This includes voters infected with COVID-19 who have been told to avoid going among people and spreading the virus to their fellow citizens at the polls.

"Signs should be in place to direct voters to the curbside voting location," the elections website says. "Curbside voters must sign an affidavit affirming that they are unable to enter the voting place to cast their ballot. A curbside voter has the same rights to assistance as any other voter."

This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: 2022 Election: Updates on primary day voting for Asheville area