Voters in North Carolina hoping to visit the polls before the Election Day rush have just a few more days to do so, but they should be able to look forward to a short, smooth trip — especially in Haywood County. 

Haywood County Schools is at a crossroads, making this year’s crowded election for school board a pivotal one.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows and his challenger Rick Bryson have opposing views on the success of Meadows’ two terms in office and how North Carolina’s 11th District is being represented.

As of 2 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 24, almost 4,300 Haywood County residents had already cast their vote in person at one of three area One Stop voting locations. 

Four more-or-less equally well-qualified candidates are competing for just two open seats on the Haywood County Board of Commissioners, leaving voters with some hard decisions come Nov. 8. 

In this year’s commissioner election, Swain County residents will have to decide whether they are happy with the work done by the two incumbents running for re-election or if they want to give two newcomers a chance to make a change.

Franklin orthodontist Jim Davis has held the District 50 seat in the N.C. Senate since 2010, when the legislature flipped to a Republican majority for the first time in more than 100 years. But if Jane Hipps, a retired educator and certified nurse practioner from Haywood County, has her way, she’ll be the one representing District 50 come January.

Early voting underway

Residents of Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties wishing to vote in advance of the Tuesday, Nov. 8, election in have multiple times and locations to choose from, beginning Thursday, Oct. 20, until early voting ends on Saturday, Nov. 5. For more information, visit

There were left hooks and right uppercuts. The crowd couldn’t look away as they cringed with each blast and low blow. There was cheering and there were muttered remarks of disgust under the tongues in this presence of this public spectacle. It wasn’t a heavyweight match. It was the second presidential debate in the 2016 election this past Monday evening. 

Rhonda Cole Schandevel is a survivor. 

“I hate it. I miss him terribly,” she said, a limpid pool of tears welling up in her eyes. “Sure, I’m sad that my husband died, but I’m very proud that I’ve been able to raise my son in a state that valued public education and valued the working class. Those are values our legislature does not hold today, especially my opponent.”

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