Local Politics

Early voting sets record in Wake County

Posted October 10, 2011 1:27 p.m. EDT
Updated October 11, 2011 5:28 a.m. EDT

— Wake County elections officials say this year's early voting turnout has already set a record for a municipal election. And they're not done counting yet, either.

If early voting is any indication, the polls could be crowded for Tuesday's mayoral, City Council and school board elections.

Cherie Poucher, director of the Wake County Board of Elections, said Monday that the early-voting turnout this year has been more than triple the early turnout in 2009.  "We're very pleased," she said.

At the Wake County Board of Elections site, 3,566 people voted early. That's compared to 1,150 in 2009.

At the Cary early voting site, 2,219 cast their ballots early. In 2009, only 956 voters did.

But the biggest surge was in mail-in absentee ballots. In 2009, only 246 people voted by mail. This year, as of Saturday, 1,453 people had mailed in their ballots, and more are expected to arrive by Tuesday.

Overall, Poucher says, as of Saturday, the number of early ballots counted was 7,238. That's more than triple the 2009 total of 2,352.

Poucher thinks the increased interest is due to the five high-profile school board races, which have had a lot of media coverage, and the open mayor's seat as well.

She said she was expecting higher turnout this year, but not quite this high.

"I'm thrilled with those numbers," she said. "Our hope is we are going to have high turnout Tuesday, and we're ready for them."

About 150 precincts will be open in Wake County starting at 6:30 tomorrow morning.

Two things to remember:

If you're a voter outside Raleigh, you may not have a ballot tomorrow if your school board seat is not up for election.

You may be in a different school board district now than you were in 2009. Some of the district lines were changed earlier this year to reflect the 2010 census, but affected voters were not alerted to those changes.

If you want to check your registration, district, or polling place, click here to go to the NC Board of Elections website.