Local Politics

County Gets Help With Primary Voter Boom

Posted April 7, 2008 5:33 p.m. EDT
Updated April 8, 2008 12:26 p.m. EDT

Heated races for governor and the Democratic presidential nomination have pushed voter registrations through the roof in North Carolina. Now county boards of election are gearing up to handle the crowds who will want to cast a vote.

From January to March of this year, more than 115,000 people statewide have signed up to vote. That is a 260 percent increase over registrations in the same quarter of 2004.

"This year the Democrat primary in particular is causing a lot of interest that could cause overcrowding," Wake County Commission Joe Bryan said.

The Wake County Commissioners and county board of elections accepted three grants Monday to fund upgrades to handle the turnout.

  • A Help America Vote grant will allow for the purchase of 24 laptops and 24 printers.
  • A $56,500 grant to improve accessibility for voters will fund signs and signals to help disabled voters.
  • A $100,000 grant will provide payment for 40 additional poll workers and the addition of four new early-voting sites.

"It's very expensive to create new precincts because once you create a precinct, it has to be open for every election whether its a small bond, small municipal, or general election," Cherie Poucher, director of the Wake County Board of Elections, said.

Instead, the new sites will be one-stop voting sites, which can be used by voters from any precinct for early voting between April 17 and May 3. There will be nine one-stop sites, the most ever for a primary. In November, there could be up to 23 early-voting locations – the most ever for a general election.

Voter registration by age group, first quarter
Age Group 2004 2008
18-24 7,645 22,620
25-39 6,734 22,959
40-64 7,748 23,360
65+ 1,821 5,648