Local Politics

Paltry 3 percent of voters cast early ballots in Raleigh, Cary

Posted October 3, 2019 5:54 p.m. EDT
Updated October 3, 2019 11:14 p.m. EDT

— Early voting for next Tuesday's municipal elections ends Friday, but few people in Raleigh or Cary appear to be taking advantage of the early voting period.

Raleigh has a hotly contested mayoral race on the ballot, as well as races for all seven City Council seats. In addition to a mayoral race and one contested Town Council race, Cary voters must decide whether to authorize $113 million in bonds for transportation improvements and $112 million in bonds for parks and recreation facilities.

Yet, only 3 percent of registered voters in Raleigh and Cary have cast ballots so far, according to the Wake County Board of Elections. As of Wednesday night, 12,579 people voted early in Wake County out of 419,041 eligible voters.

"In a municipal year, people don’t, they really don’t get out and vote, and we have some of our lowest voter turnout," county elections director Gary Sims said Thursday.

Still, those numbers are higher than recent municipal elections. Two years ago, only 2.5 percent of voters cast early ballots, and in 2015, it was less than 1 percent.

"When you talk about mayor, City Council races, bonds, these are things that directly impact people‘s lives," Sims said.

Barry Packman was one of a handful of people voting early at the Method Road Community Center in Raleigh on Thursday.

"There is no crowd. They’re very well organized – verify your identity, and the voting is very simple," Packman said. "Early voting is so much easier then going on Election Day, so I’m a little surprised that it’s not more crowded."

The Wake County Board of Elections office in downtown Raleigh will have early voting from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Friday, while six other early voting sites in Raleigh and Cary will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Friday is the last day for anyone who isn't registered to vote to cast a ballot in the election.

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