Voters line up early to cast ballots

Posted October 20, 2016

— Voters lined up at sites across Wake County and elsewhere Thursday for the first day of early voting in the 2016 general election.

George Grubbs said he waited in line for more than an hour to cast a ballot at the Chavis Park early-voting site in Raleigh, where more than 1,500 votes were cast Thursday.

"It was wrapped around the building there when I first got here," Grubbs said. "I thought I was going to get here and see a real short line, and it just keeps growing."

Both Grubbs and Carolyn Taylor said they were willing to wait to get their votes in.

"I want to vote, make a difference," Taylor said.

"I know who I want to vote for, and I'm ready to get it done and get it behind me," Grubbs said.

Wilma Hall, who waited in line with friends, said she wanted to get her vote in early in case she got too busy in the next couple of weeks.

"If this is what the first day's going to be like, what is Nov. 8 going to be like?" Hall said. "They're out here today, which is really good."

Reports of long lines came in from all over the Triangle. Even though the lines were moving pretty quickly, most voters said they waited one to two hours to cast their ballots.

That's nothing to Andre Harris, who recently finished serving a 24-year prison sentence for burglary and arson. He spends his time these days as a public speaker, telling students not to follow his example.

Now that his sentence is complete, his right to vote has been restored, making Thursday the first vote he's ever been able to cast.

"It's a great opportunity, a great privilege," Harris said. "It's going to be an awesome experience because, for the first time in my life, I have the opportunity to make a difference, and that's what life is all about."

In Durham, North Carolina Central University students marched to the county Board of Elections office as part of the statewide "This is our time, this is our vote" campaign organized by the state chapter of the NAACP.

The campaign hopes to encourage college students to focus on issues raised in national, state and local campaigns and exercise their right to vote.

"A lot of students are like, 'I don't like Hillary Clinton. I don't like Donald Trump,' so they're saying they're not going to vote for either," N.C. Central student Stevie Ford said.

"I have great confidence that young people – I have five of them in my house, and not only are they voting, but they're organizing in ways I haven't seen," state NAACP President Rev. William Barber said.

Races on the ballot include contests for president, governor and U.S. Senate, as well as court races and contests for county commissioner and school board seats. WRAL.com's My Ballot tool can help you preview your ballot and compare candidates' statements side-by-side.

Most voters will not need to show photo identification when they arrive at the polls, either during the early voting period or on Election Day. A federal appeals court overturned voter ID rules that were in place for the March and June primaries.

NEW My Ballot logo My Ballot voter guide Decision 2016 graphic Q&A: Voting in election 2016 However, voters taking advantage of same-day registration should plan to bring proof of residency with them. One-stop voting allows voters to register and vote at the same time. Proof of residency can be a North Carolina driver's license, a photo identification from a government agency or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document.

Same-day registration is not available on Election Day, which is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Voters are now allowed to use a smartphone to look at candidate lists, sample ballots or other election info, but they cannot use a phone to contact anyone else while in the voting enclosure. Also, photos inside the voting area are banned, meaning no pictures of a completed ballot or selfies in the voting booth.

Early voting runs through Saturday, Nov. 5, although times and availability vary by county:

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Voters have been casting mail-in absentee ballots since September, and those who wish to vote by mail have until Nov. 1 to request a mail-in ballot.

WRAL News has answered many questions about voting in a Q&A, but those who still have questions about their voter registration or other voting issues should contact their local board of election.


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  • Rod Runner Oct 20, 2016
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    Really? Can't think of anything? Maybe not everyone has time to get off heir job on Election Day but still wants to vote? Maybe someone has business travel on that day and doesn't want to send in an absentee ballot since those are only counted if there is a recount because the voting is close? Maybe the person wanting to vote is elderly and cannot get out on Election Day but a friend or family member can take them early? Maybe someone already made up their mind 100% and wants to get it over with? Maybe someone wants to avoid the really long Election Day lines at their small voting precinct? So many reasons. You can't come up wi any yourself?

  • Justa Mann Oct 20, 2016
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    Hello Hayeze, how many of your dead relatives will you be voting for this time?

  • Arron Lee Oct 20, 2016
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    Never understood the purpose of early voting.

  • Paul Hayeze Oct 20, 2016
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    Gee "Barney"...Will you be casting ballots for Skip Harris, Roger Chance, Dwain Van Houten, Perry Masonjar, Demute Desainte,

  • Barney Gravel Oct 20, 2016
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    Numerous time sis easy Andrew. 1) Do you know of a recently deceased neighbor. They always tend to rise from the dead and vote Democrat. You can go in at different times, in different clothes and they will not notice. Vote for yourself and your dead friend. Plus, you can register in two different counties and they will not catch it.

    The only solution is to have electronic machines, and input your social security number. That will limit the fraud but not totally prevent it.

    American just doe not trust the establishment anymore. But one party is parading out a career politician and using her gender and the ability to give out freebies as a parlor trick.

  • Andrew Stephenson Oct 20, 2016
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    Numerous times eh? How would they manage that?

  • Johnathan Doe Oct 20, 2016
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    they usually don't get up that early...next thing you know they'll seek(nonexistent) jobs!

  • Michi Gauss Oct 20, 2016
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    If Trump were leading in the polls he nor his minions would declare the election is rigged. It's only rigged when HRC is leading. Same with "voter fraud"--it's only fraudulent when someone votes for Hillary. If they vote for Trump or any republican candidate then there's no fraud. Funny how that works!

  • Rod Runner Oct 20, 2016
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    Even if you voted using the name of your deceased mother and father if they're still on the rolls, you can only vote once for each of them in NC.

    I question whether you've ever voted before and seen how they tear the name out of the book?

    During early voting, they take your name and send it on to your real precinct so you can't vote again there on election day.

  • Rod Runner Oct 20, 2016
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    Oh those pesky Democrats voting early! Too bad Dallas Woodhouse and Governor McCrory couldn't stop this! How dare people get more time to vote! This is an afront to democracy!!! ;)