Thousands turning out for early voting in local counties

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The New Hanover County Government Center is a one-stop absentee voting location. (Photo by Hannah Leyva.)
The New Hanover County Government Center is a one-stop absentee voting location. (Photo by Hannah Leyva.)

Early voting in North Carolina began last Thursday, and after four days of voting (through the end of Monday, Oct. 24), more than 10 percent of the registered voters in New Hanover County and Brunswick County have already cast ballots.

In Brunswick County, Director of Elections Sara Knotts said about 12,000 people had voted at one-stop voting locations by the end of Tuesday, the fifth day of early in-person voting. According to her, those numbers are in line with what she expected.

“I think we’re on par for what I thought we’d be so far,” Knotts said. “We’re a little bit behind what we were up to this time in 2012 [during the last presidential election], but we only have four locations open so far and back then we had eight. Once we get those other locations open, I suspect we’ll catch up.”

Looking for a place to cast your ballot? See a list of all the early voting sites and their hours in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties.

Six more one-stop poll sites are scheduled to open Thursday throughout Brunswick County. There are approximately 94,000 registered voters there, according to Knotts.

“During early voting, traditionally, we see about two-thirds of our expected voters come through,” Knotts said. “Seventy percent of our registered voters, give or take, turn out during elections. It’s certainly higher during presidential elections, and I’ve seen no indication to suggest otherwise for this year.”

Early voting sites are meant to alleviate long lines and wait times at polling sites on election day, but some one-stop absentee voting locations have also experienced those issues.

“We’ve had lines, which I think everyone has had, but hopefully those will die down once the other six sites open up,” Knotts said. “Other than that and some longer waits, we’ve had no major problems [at our poll locations] so far.”

In New Hanover County, where a line of 50 people waited outside the Government Center voting location during the lunch hour on the first day, more than 20,000 people out of 168,000 registered voters had already gone to the polls by Tuesday. The county’s five open poll locations are averaging over 4,600 voters per day.

For a list of all the early voting sites and their hours in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties, click here.