Early voting for the Second Primary election starts Thursday, and Orange County officials are making sure there are no excuses for voters not making it to the polls.

The “Caravan to the Polls” campaign is a local initiative put in place to transport more voters to the Orange County Sheriff’s runoff race. The race, featuring two Democratic candidates attempting to replace Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass, is narrowed down to longtime law enforcement professionals David Caldwell, Jr. and Charles Blackwood.

Any Orange County registered voter may vote from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on July 3, 7-11 and until 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 12.

Town councilwoman, director of the county Democratic Hispanic Caucus and one of the spearheads of the caravan, Maria Palmer, says the campaign has a dual purpose, both to transport people to the polls and to raise awareness of the importance of this election. She says without the caravan, she is sure the “turnout will be dismal.”

“We have had the same sheriff for 34 years, and we are starting a new period in Orange County and we desperately need folks involved in the process,” Palmer said.

The first wave of voters will be leaving from the Hargraves Park and Community Center in Chapel Hill and headed to Orange County Board of Elections on Cameron Street in Hillsborough.

Palmer, alongside other officials such as County Commissioner Mark Dorosin, says she is doing this independent of her position as town councilwoman and wants to assist voters without viable transportation to the polls.

“What we really don’t want to happen is that only 200 hundred people elect our next sheriff,” Palmer said.

The caravan is only available on the first and last days of the early voting period. Thursday’s route will stop at 12:30 p.m. with Saturday’s procession leaving from University Mall.

Volunteers drivers are not only transporting people to the polls, but are also offering to pick up interested voters from their homes. If you or someone you know would like to participate, Councilwoman Palmer can be reached at her home at 919-933-0259.