Sunday, June 16, 2024

Sights and sounds: Election Day in New Hanover County

Dolores Vann, local GOP volunteer, said President Donald Trump's status as a businessman resonates with her and that she worries about the economy should Joe Biden be elected. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
Dolores Vann, local GOP volunteer, said President Donald Trump’s status as a businessman resonates with her and that she worries about the economy should Joe Biden be elected. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Though most of the polls were quiet Tuesday with few lines, voter turnout still has been strong in New Hanover County overall during the 2020 election season. During the early voting period, 63% of registered voters participated in some form or fashion, whether by mail or in person.

Still, Port City Daily caught a few voters at Rachel Freeman Elementary, Parsley Elementary, MLK Center, New Hanover County’s Downtown Library, among a few other polling places to find out who they were supporting in the election and how the candidates’ values align with their own.

Related: Elections officials argue over tiny number of erroneous ballots on Election Day eve

For the most part, party volunteers and poll workers appeared to outnumber voters. Many voters and volunteers said they felt the bulk of turnout must have occured during the early voting period, which may explain why things seemed so calm on Election Day.

As expected, the presidential race drove many voters to the polls over local issues. Historically, turnout is far higher during the presidential election cycle.

Before Election Day, unaffiliated voters were leading the way in New Hanover County, making up 38% of the vote. They were followed by Republicans (31%) and Democrats (30%). Of course, all of this is subject to change once Election Day results are in; the county board of elections office has not updated its website with new turnout statistics since last week.

Early voting wrapped up on Halloween in N.C. with more than 4.5 million total ballots cast. This marked a 21% increase in in-person turnout compared to 2016. Absentee turnout was six times higher this cycle.

Early ballots equated to 95% of 2016’s total tally in N.C.

Check out what volunteers and voters had to say about the voting process and what motivated them to participate on Election Day in New Hanover County:

New Hanover County GOP M02 precinct chair passes out sample ballots to voters outside Parsley Elementary School on Election Day. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
New Hanover County GOP M02 precinct chair passes out sample ballots to voters outside Parsley Elementary School on Election Day. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
LISTEN: Rebecca Walker discusses how Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Forest prompted her to get involved as a volunteer for the first time this election cycle.
 
Leonard Seals gets back into his car after voting on Election Day outside Parsley Elementary School. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
LISTEN: Leonard Seals discusses why he voted to re-elect President Trump and why he voted against party lines to re-elect Governor Roy Cooper.
 
UNCW students Dyan Acosta Ocampo and Leticia Garcia said they hope Biden gets elected. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
LISTEN: Dyan Acosta Ocampo and Leticia Garcia discuss why immigration is an important issue for them in this election.
 
First-time voter J.R. Huffman voted for the first time on Election Day at Parsley Elementary School. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
LISTEN: First-time voter J.R. Huffman discusses what prompted him to register this election cycle.
 
Brandon Panameno represents President Trump and Lt. Governor Dan Forest outside the downtown library on Election Day. (Port City Daily photo/Shea Carver)
LISTEN: Brandon Panameno discusses why he voted for Trump.
 
Paige Copenhaver represents local county commission candidate Leslie Cohen outside the downtown library on Election Day. (Port City Daily photo/Shea Carver)
LISTEN: Paige Copenhaver discusses which issues are important for her this election season and why she supports Democratic candidates.
 
John Myer, a volunteer with the Democratic party, talks to voters outside the MLK Community Center on Election Day. (Port City Daily photo/Shea Carver)
LISTEN: Democratic John Myer discusses his plans to prevent voter intimidation on Election Day.
 
Michael Graham exits the polls at Rachel Freeman Elementary School on Election Day. (Port City Daily photo/Shea Carver)
LISTEN: Michael Graham discusses why he voted for Biden.
 
Register of Deeds candidate Clayton Hamerski speaks to Democratic volunteers outside the UNCW Burney Center on Election Day. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
LISTEN: Clayton Hamerski discusses how he finds himself explaining what the Register of Deeds is and does during his campaign.
 
UNCW students Jenna McGinnis and Alex Magda, both 18, voted for the first time this election season, choosing to support Biden. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
LISTEN: Jenna McGinnis and Alex Magda discuss their experience voting for the first time.
 
Democratic volunteer Rachel Lewallen waits to pass out pamplets to voters outside Parsley Elementary School on Election Day. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
LISTEN: Rachel Lewallen discusses why Democratic issues are important to her, citing the environment as her top concern this election.
 
UNCW student Jeffrey Cooper heads in to vote for the first time at the Burney Center. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
LISTEN: Jeffrey Cooper reflects on what it means to vote before heading into the polls for the first time.

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