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Durham voters head to polls to decide mayoral candidates

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A Durham voter casts her ballot in the municipal primary at North Regional Library. (Justin Quesinberry, WNCN) A Durham voter casts her ballot in the municipal primary at North Regional Library. (Justin Quesinberry, WNCN)
DURHAM, N.C. -

With voters tasked with narrowing the field of mayoral candidates, turnout was low at Durham precincts Tuesday.

Longtime mayor Bill Bell will face a challenge from Sylvester Williams in the general election on Nov. 5.

Bell defeated Williams by a wide margin in 2011.  

Bell received nearly 90 percent of the vote Tuesday while Williams barely beat Michael Valentine to face Bell.

During the 14 days leading up to Tuesday's municipal primary, 1,876 early voters cast their ballots.

At the North Regional Library precinct, located at 221 Milton Road, only 22 people had voted between when polls opened at 6:30 a.m. and 12 p.m.

A few others came in, but had their wrong precinct; while some showed up only to learn they did not have anything to vote for because they live in the county.

One voter said he made the effort because it's his civic duty.

"People died for me to vote, so there's no reason for me to sit at home and not come out and vote," Carl Hunter said. "Plus, I wanted to vote and make sure we get the right people in office."

During the 2011 municipal primary, 11,786 people cast their ballot of the 133,452 registered voters -- representing 8.83 percent of eligible voters in Durham.

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