Local Politics

Early voting sets first-day record

Posted October 17, 2008

— More than 100,000 people across North Carolina cast ballots Thursday on the first day of early voting, state officials said Friday.

The number shattered the previous record by about 40 percent, said Gary Bartlett, executive director of the State Board of Elections.

"We were expecting long lines from the beginning," Bartlett said. "I do not think it will thin out. I think it will increase, especially during the last week and a half. I believe that there will be continuous lines."

In Wake County, 7,917 people cast ballots Thursday, including 2,088 at Cary Town Center and 1,975 at Triangle Town Center. Lines snaked around both malls, as people waited for up to 30 minutes to vote, officials said.

Durham County elections officials said 6,264 votes were cast Thursday, up 40 percent from the highest daily total in 2004.

“Democracy had a terrific day,” Michael Ashe, director of the Durham County Board of Elections, said in a statement. “As citizens continue to vote early, I expect (Thursday’s) record will be broken."

Similar records were set across the state:

  • Close to 4,000 people voted in Cumberland County.
  • Voters waited in line as long as two hours at some Charlotte early-voting sites, prompting officials to consider opening extra polling places.
  • Kay Hagan, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, decided against casting her ballot Thursday when she saw a line of voters wrapping around the Guilford County Courthouse.

"We're a battleground state, which has created a lot of enthusiasm and excitement (among voters)," Bartlett said.

Party officials said they expected heavy turnout for early voting.

"We had our best turnout effort ever in 2004. We think early voting is going to be a way to push it even further," said Brent Woodcox, spokesman for the North Carolina Republican Party.

"For months now, we've seen (growing) registration numbers, excitement and people looking forward to this opportunity," said Courtney Crowder, a vice chairman with the North Carolina Democratic Party.

Almost two-thirds of those who voted Thursday were enrolled Democrats, while 21 percent were enrolled Republicans and 15 percent were unaffiliated. It was unclear whether they voted along party lines.

"People, I think, do have a strong slate of Democratic candidates to vote for. I'd like to think that everyone of those Democratic voters are voting for the Democrats," Crowder said.

"North Carolina has a history of Democrats who have been registered Democrats for a very long time who want lower taxes, more jobs and a better economy. We think we can still win those votes this time around," Woodcox said.

Elections officials said they hope to get as many people as possible to cast early ballots by Nov. 1 to limit congestion at the polls on Election Day.

"One of the last things we need is three- and four-hour lines after the polls close (on Election Day)," Bartlett said.


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  • wildervb Oct 17, 2008

    "While Mr. Obama claims his tax increases will pay for "tax cuts," much of his increases are actually earmarked for a massive new spending program that will send tax "rebate" checks to 45.6 million filers who have no income tax liability. These filers will get a check of up to $500 a person or $1,000 a couple even though they do not pay federal income taxes."

    Every worker pays taxes through the payroll tax. This money of course is used in the general funds along with all other tax money. Obama's plan will help the middle class far more than McCain's new tax cuts, Obama's plan rewards workers, McCain's plan rewards the wealthy with more capital gains tax breaks.

    The 3% increase in taxes for income over 250k will have little or no effect on the vast majority of businesses. Businesses of course are not taxed on total revenue, they're taxed on profit. It's just another scare tactic to claim that Obama's taxes will cause layoffs. We had those rates in the 90s and great job growth

  • TRivers Oct 17, 2008

    at those enterprises.

    While Mr. Obama claims his tax increases will pay for "tax cuts," much of his increases are actually earmarked for a massive new spending program that will send tax "rebate" checks to 45.6 million filers who have no income tax liability. These filers will get a check of up to $500 a person or $1,000 a couple even though they do not pay federal income taxes.

  • TRivers Oct 17, 2008

    "Some get it if they have tax credits and are low earners, but Obama's plan does not give them a free check.

    Please check your facts before you thowup on your keyboard."

    and genius #2

    jimid8 ..If 40% DON'T PAY TAX then how will they benifit from a TAX BREAK? come on make just a little sense. And jointhier you can stop the payed for by the republican party paranoia. voting has started and obama is leading 3 to 1. accept it. the people are speaking.

    Read and enjoy you two:

    So while Mr. Obama says that only the top 5% will pay higher taxes under his proposals, many voters are skeptical. Nearly three out of every four filers who'll pay higher taxes under a President Obama are small businesses, the source of most new jobs and growth. An Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center study found that 663,000 (73%) of the 912,000 filers hit by Mr. Obama's tax increases will report business income -- i.e., they are small business owners. His tax hikes will affect every worker at

  • tsquaring Oct 17, 2008

    I wonder how many are fraud democrat cheats organized by ACORN, vote early, vote often.

  • gnew46 Oct 17, 2008

    66% of voters were democrats....whoohooo...go Obama!!

    All Dems do not vote for the Democratic Candidate, especially at the National Level.

  • onyourheels2 Oct 17, 2008

    for all the dems, please don't turn your tv off on nov 4 for safety reasons. at 9am on nov 5 there will be a loud clap on your tv to get you out of the shock of McCain winning the election.

  • Quagmire Oct 17, 2008

    seeingthru you must be registered Dem or Unaffiliated to receive that call. You should be prouder and register Republican.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Oct 17, 2008

    Obama told Joe the Plumber that we would see the wealth spread around.

    That means higher taxes on those who work for a living and welfare for those who choose not to work.

    Something isn't right about Obama's brand of Socialism.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Oct 17, 2008

    It's amazing that the Obama campaign and his surrogates are implying that whites who don't vote for Obama are racists.

    Yet, over 90% of African Americans are voting for Obama because of his skin color.

    In this election, the African Americans seem to be the biggest group of racists.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Oct 17, 2008

    Hopefully they keep the hundreds of thousands of illegal voter registrations made by Acorn from voting.

    Obama donated $800,000 to Acorn.

    $800,000 is a cheap way to steal an election.