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Early voters number 250K strong in Wake County

Posted November 2, 2008

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— At the finally tally, 251,304 residents of Wake County voted at one-stop sites through the close of polls Saturday, elections officials said.

Statewide, more than 2.6 million voters cast an early ballot in person or by mail – a turnout of nearly 40 percent and more than double the 1.1 million people who voted early in 2004.

Wake County early-voting sites stayed open an extra four hours until 5 p.m. to help a record turnout of voters get through long lines. At the Triangle Town Center mall, the line looped around several buildings Saturday.

Elections officials will begin counting ballots at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Cherrie Poucher, Wake County's elections director, said. They will begin reporting the results after the polls close on Election Day.

State Board of Elections data shows that 52 percent of people who have voted so far are registered Democrats, while 30 percent are registered Republicans. By comparison, about 46 percent of all registered voters in the state are declared Democrats, while 32 percent are with the GOP.

Numbers indicate that African-Americans – likely galvanized by the candidacy of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama – have surged to the polls. So far, they have comprised of 26 percent of voters, although blacks make up 21 percent of the state's population.

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