Local Politics

Pick president while picking out shoes

Posted October 15, 2008 5:51 p.m. EDT
Updated October 15, 2008 7:05 p.m. EDT

— For the next two weeks, shoppers at Triangle Town Center can cast their ballot in between buying clothes and stopping at the food court.

Wake County elections officials rented a vacant space at the north Raleigh mall for a one-stop voting site. The mall is one of five early voting locations across the county that will be open from Thursday through Nov. 1. Another 10 sites will operate from Oct. 23 through Nov. 1.

"We knew all along that this presidential election was going to be huge, and early voting is getting more and more popular," elections official Nicole Shumaker said. "I am expecting in excess of 12,000 voters (at the mall), probably more than 1,000 voters each day."

All registered voters in Wake County are eligible to vote at the mall. Others can register and vote at the one-stop site.

Elections officials are checking voter identifications and securing ballots to ensure votes cast early are legitimate, Shumaker said.

"The laptops (at the polling site) are connected live to our main voter registration database, so we know in real time who is registered to vote and who is not," she said.

State elections officials are trying to encourage as many people as possible to vote early to limit the expected lines on Election Day.

Shoppers said they like the idea of voting early at the mall.

"I definitely would be interested in it. I think that its so important to vote, and the problem is sometimes something comes up at the last minute," said Thomas Henderson, who plans to votes for Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

"It's more convenient for me because (Thursday) I will be (at the mall), maybe," said Nahid Anvarian, who said he would cast an early ballot for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. "I want to do it as soon as possible."