Thousands of Voters Turning Out Early
Posted April 21, 2008 1:51 p.m. EDT
Updated April 21, 2008 5:02 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — "One-Stop Voting" has lured 32,662 people to the polls across the state since it began last Thursday.
The opportunity to register and vote all at once in advance of North Carolina's May 6 primary runs through Saturday, May 3, at 1 p.m.
As of Monday morning, 32,662 ballots had been cast in person and an additional 6,219 filed by mail, elections officials reported.
Gary Bartlett, executive director of the State Board of Elections, predicted that
about one-third of voters statewide will likely cast an early ballot.
The early voting was designed for voters who expected to be unable to vote on election day, but it also provides an option for people who want to avoid crowds that day at their local polling places.
Primary elections in presidential election years traditionally attract 16 to 31 percent of registered voters, but Bartlett predicted a turnout of more than 40 percent this year because of heightened interest in the tight Democratic race between presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Under a new state law, first-time voters also can register at the early voting locations before casting a ballot at that polling place. They need to bring appropriate identification, such as a driver's license with a current address or other government identification. The entire list of accepted identification and other procedures is explained on the elections board's Web site.
"Same-day registration is simple, straightforward election reform that is proven to help voter turnout," said Lynice Williams, executive director of North Carolina Fair Share, which lobbied for the change in state law.
The elections board has a county-by-county list of early voting sites online. It also is possible for each voter to enter his or her name, date of birth and county on the Web site and see the ballot for his or her voting precinct.
The entire ballot, including the Democratic presidential primary, is available.
In the Triangle, Durham County lists three early voting sites, Orange County lists four and Wake County lists nine. Johnston and Chatham counties have three each.