500k vote early in NC as lines seen on last day of early voting in Wake County

Scene from early voting in Wake County, North Carolina during March, 2016 primary.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Attention will be focused on North Carolina Tuesday when voters head to the polls for primary day. Ahead of that, early voting ended Saturday.

People waited in line at their polling place to take advantage of it. The chance to skip what is likely to be longer lines on primary day, and make their voice heard. It started March 3rd and ended Saturday afternoon.

“I feel American right now. I think it’s real important to do your civic duty. I never voted before, but there was something in the candidates this year that made me feel like I had to go out and do something,” Gary Ruffin of Fayetteville said.

This is after all a presidential election year. In the last week we’ve seen almost all of the candidates running for president visit our area. In Wake County, the Board of Elections said the turnout for early voting was record breaking.

“We’ve had 55,000 voters come in over the course of this early voting time period. that’s ten full days,” Ziyad Haque, Wake County Early Voting Coordinator said.

The State Board of Elections said nearly 500,000 voters had cast ballots across North Carolina as of Friday morning. That’s 7.5 percent of North Carolina’s 6.5 million registered voters.

“On election day you just have one massive day that people come out and vote. Early voting is over the course of several days and you split that up. You’ve got all these people, its more conformed to how their lifestyles are,” Haque said.

It’s also the first time voters have had to show photo identification at the polls. If they forgot, that person had to cast a provisional ballot. But for it to count, they’ll still have to show an ID at a county elections office.

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