Local Politics

Tight presidential race helps NC break early voting records

Posted November 4, 2012

— Thanks to dozens of "get out the vote" rallies and a presidential race coming down to the wire, the early-voting period in North Carolina broke records on its final day Saturday.

In the 2½-week early voting period, more than 2.51 million North Carolina residents in 100 counties cast in-person ballots, breaking the record 2008 total of 2.41 million, according to State Board of Elections data. NEW My Ballot logo My Ballot: Compare candidates side-by-side

Final early-vote totals were expected Monday. 

State Board of Elections Executive Director Gary Bartlett labeled voting "very heavy, very robust" Saturday with long lines before the early voting period ended at 1 p.m. in many counties and 5 p.m. elsewhere. Residents on Saturday could register and vote on the same day — that's not allowed on Election Day.

It was unclear if overall absentee voting — mail-in, military and overseas ballots included — would exceed the record non-Election Day turnout of 42 percent of registered voters in 2008. There are 400,000 more registered voters compared to 2008. Some mountain and coastal counties saw a drop-off in early-vote totals last week because of bad weather due to Hurricane Sandy, Bartlett said. Voting NC voter resources

According to the State Board of Elections website, nearly 200,000 people had submitted absentee ballots by Saturday afternoon, bringing the grand total of votes cast in the early voting period to more than 2.7 million.

The total represents more than 40 percent of registered voters in North Carolina. 

Both sides saw positives from early-vote totals — Democrats with an overall increase in voting by their base and Republicans in narrowing the advantage Democrats had on a percentage basis compared to four years ago, when Obama won North Carolina by just 14,000 votes of 4.3 million votes cast. Polls show the presidential race very close again.

Nationally, more than 27 million people have already voted in 34 states and the District of Columbia, either by mail or in person.

Election Day is Tuesday.


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  • jlt68 Nov 6, 2012

    It's funny how so many people seem to equate black people voting with a vote for President Obama. Yet those same people are unwilling to equate a white person voting as a vote for Romney. Why is that? If white people are capable of making an informed decision based on their opinions about what's best for the country...and choosing either Obama or Romney, why is there a perceived difference that black people can't do the same?

  • lumberman Nov 5, 2012

    free2beme obama wanted you to vote early so you could not change your mind. Of course if you voted for him you did not have much to change. Wait until he rams more stupidity through without a vote. The 47 % now knows that to get more you have to vote in who ever is willing to give them the most regardless of who it is. And that is how the democrats enslave them. Biden said the GOP was going to put them back in chains Heck the democrats have never let them out.

  • leverett81 Nov 5, 2012

    It's so funny to see how people are talking about the "blacks" voting. Alot of people would like go back to the times when black people could not vote. People are always talking about black people voting for President Obama because he is black. Well, for the white people who are voting for Romney, after all of the lies and the back and forth, are you still voting for him because he is white? Black people have been voting. Some people are just paying more attention to it now because there is a black person, who is by-the-way only 50% black, running. Wake up people!!! Stop making everything about race. Get rid of the ignorance!!!

  • sweetums googoo Nov 5, 2012

    IA and VA will go to President Obama. CO to Romney. FL who knows... (or cares...) it is all OH and PA which IMO will go blue...

  • ICTrue Nov 5, 2012

    The fools have been set up for a big fall by their cohorts in the media. trying to shape opinion about the closeness of the race by over-sampling democrats has only helps to further energize Republicans. Landslide-Romney

  • NYtoNC81 Nov 5, 2012

    NCKen, do you have a source for that? I'm interested since the only place I can see that aggregates early voting is highly contradictory to that.

    I see 2,738,922 early votes cast with 47.7% D, 31.4% R and 20.9% I.

    Romney does look strong early in CO and PA though with the early voting.

  • JoCo50 at MXR Nov 5, 2012

    "It will be very interesting to see if the black voters continue to turn out in 2016 if there is no black candidate running for office...Nope thats were it will stop!!" robbyh

    If Obama wins a second term, the 2016 election will be completely unimportant. After a second Obama term, there is absolutely zero chance that a Republican would be elected in 2016.

    Entitlements and debt service will be more than 100% of revenues. No candidate who campaigns for fiscal or personal responsibility will stand a chance of getting elected in 2016.

  • NCKen Nov 5, 2012

    Although early voting across the state is up 4.4%, democratic voters are down 3.5%. Republican and Unaffiliated voters are up 10% and 17% respectively, compared to 2008. These percentages convert to a 225,000 vote advantage for the republicans and Unaffiliated voters. Because Obama only won NC by 14,000 votes in 2008, it is evident that Obama cannot possibly win in NC this year. Almost the same percentages exist in Wake County as the Republicans and Unaffiliated voters are up 22,000 voters compared to 2008. Turn out the lights as the party is over for the democrats.

  • robbyh Nov 5, 2012

    It will be very interesting to see if the black voters continue to turn out in 2016 if there is no black candidate running for office...Nope thats were it will stop!!

  • Half Red Half Blue Nov 5, 2012

    To me, neither one is worth my vote. Romney does not have a clear plan, and Obama has not done anything in office to win my vote again. I will let the quarter in my pocket decide.