Local Politics

N.C. early voting surpasses 1 million ballots

Posted October 26, 2008

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— More than 1 million people have cast a ballot in North Carolina's early voting, surpassing the total number who voted at one-stop sites four years ago.

Data released Sunday by the State Board of Elections shows 1,078,710 have voted at early sites. In 2004, the state counted some 984,000 ballots during the full early period.

To help get even more people out to the polls, a early voting rally was held Sunday at the Chavis Community Center, 505 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in Raleigh. Free food and music was provided to the over 1,000 people who came out to the event.

"You have so many people who have never been involved in anything before who are deciding they want to be a part of something. And so this election gives that,” said Grady Bussey, organizer for the Chavis Community Center.

Elections leaders are encouraging people to take advantage of the one-stop sites, fearing that Election Day lines could be long. Wake County even expanded the number of early voting sites available to keep up with demand.

"One of the reasons we really wanted to open the number of sites is with the increased number of voters in Wake County. By early voting it's more convenient for the voters,” said Cherie Poucher, director of Wake County's elections.

The early voting process has drawn a few complaints, according to a recent WRAL News poll; eight out of 10 people think voters should be required to show identification at the polls.

“That's something for the legislature to consider. We just follow the election laws,” Poucher said when asked about an ID requirement.

Early voting started Oct. 16, and counties have been increasing the availability of one-stop sites since then, easing some of the hours-long lines seen in the opening days. The early balloting ends Saturday.

The numbers clearly favor Democrats. Of the early voters, 58 percent are registered Democrats, although the GOP argues that it can win over some of the conservative Democrats in the state that differ in ideology from their national counterparts. Just 25 percent of voters so far are registered Republicans.

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has encouraged all his supporters to vote early to ensure that as many ballots are in before the crush of Election Day. The Republicans launched an early vote tour last week, helping ease a wide gap that the Democrats built in the first days of balloting.

Elections officials expect that some one-third of voters in North Carolina will go to the polls early. Already, more than 19 percent of registered voters have gone to one-stop sites.

“It's very exciting to have this many people exercising their right to vote," Poucher said.

The data also shows signs that Obama is drawing a historic number of blacks to the election. About 28 percent of all voters thus far are black, even though they're just 21 percent of the population and made up only 19 percent of state's overall 2004 vote.

Another 113,000 voters have cast an absentee ballot, including 4,700 in the military and 2,179 people overseas.


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  • FromClayton Oct 28, 2008

    Thanks. Found it. Church at Clayton Crossing
    11407 US Highway 70 West, Clayton Oct. 21-Nov. 1
    Tues. - Fri. (12:00pm - 7:00pm)
    Sat., Oct. 25 & Nov. 1 (9:00am - 1:00pm)

  • Nothing Finer Oct 27, 2008

    Democrats, please get out and vote early! The polls will be packed on Nov. 4th by people with actual jobs!

  • TontoKozlowski Oct 27, 2008

    Y'all undecided voters should read this. If you question the validity of this article then please Google 'democrats + 401k'..


  • Bendal1 Oct 27, 2008

    My wife and I voted last Monday. It was very easy and quick; probably took under 20 minutes for both of us. There was a short line but it moved steadily and there was a constant stream of voters showing up.

    The only confusion I saw was an Orange County couple wanting to vote here in Wake County, and claiming they'd been told they could vote "anywhere". Sorry, but "anywhere" means "anywhere in your county of residence". The poll volunteers tried to explain that to them but as we left they were still trying to argue for being allowed to vote here...

  • arfamr1004 Oct 27, 2008

    I think it's absolutely wonderful that people are getting out there to vote.

    I agree, it's just sad that so many are out voting for the wrong reason

  • RedheadGirl Oct 27, 2008

    Unfortunately, requiring an ID to vote is considered a poll tax becuase it costs money to have a driver's license. I think requiring some form of ID is absolutely a great idea. Maybe in the future ID could be required but your free Voter Registration card could suffice if you don't have one. Then it's your own fault if you lose it and no money of any kind would be required to vote.

  • urbizn Oct 27, 2008

    Government-issued photo ID AND Social Security number should be required to vote, in addition to address verification. PERIOD.

  • makemyday Oct 27, 2008

    As long as you have a name and address that matches I guess you could keep on voting. It would be easy to just have to show an ID. If you are 18 yrs old you should have one.

  • hpr641 Oct 27, 2008

    "... according to a recent WRAL News poll; eight out of 10 people think voters should be required to show identification at the polls.

    “That's something for the legislature to consider. We just follow the election laws,” Poucher {Wake Co's. Dir. of Elections} said when asked about an ID requirement."

    Why do 8/10 think you should have to show ID? Because otherwise, all you have to do to committ fraud in NC is know the full name and address of someone who is unlikely to vote and be willing to forge their signature. You know, you have a show ID just to use a $10 check, but it's "too much of a burden" to require people to show ID to have an equal say in who our leaders are?

    I would rather NC just get rid of early voting and make presidential general election day a state holiday (since it would only come once ever four years).

  • webberx101 Oct 27, 2008

    Early Voting? Vote CRUMLEY for Attorney General !