Lines long Tuesday at some North Carolina polling locations

Vote here primary election Durham
File photo from March 15, 2016 elections.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolinians flocked to the polls on Tuesday in a primary election that has widespread implications for the future of North Carolina.

Polls are open Tuesday until 7:30 p.m. Early voting closed Saturday.

But lines were long at some places Tuesday afternoon. At Pullen Park near N.C. State University, for example, the wait was up to two hours as of 6 p.m.

At a polling place in Hope Valley in Durham, the wait was an hour and a half around 5:30 p.m.

Hope Valley Baptist Church in Durham on Tuesday (WNCN)
Hope Valley Baptist Church in Durham on Tuesday (WNCN)

At Durham’s South Regional Library on Alston Avenue, voters there said they wanted to vote to have their voices heard.

“I wanted to get my vote in because right now we’ve got a lot stuff going on and I want to make sure the right person gets in office,” said Warrenda Roberson, a Hillary Clinton supporter.

“I think people just want to feel like they’re making an impact and they want to get out there. Have their opinion counted,” said Matthew Bontrager, a Bernie Sanders supporter.

But lines were long at some day parts there. One voter said Tuesday afternoon that she waited 50 minutes to vote. The Durham County Board of Elections said part of the problem is people have been going to the wrong precinct, and the new voter ID rules have added more time to the process.

Tar Heel voters will vote on nominees for president, governor, senator and a variety of other state offices. They will also vote yea or nay on the $2 billion bond, which looks to infuse cash into multiple public projects. The general obligation bonds would fund capital projects at the UNC system, the community college system, the National Guard and state parks and attractions, in addition to other issues.

Tuesday’s election will not include voting for the U.S. House of Representatives after federal courts ruled North Carolina must redraw its districts. The voting for the U.S. House is scheduled for June 7.

This is also the first year North Carolina is operating under the new Voter ID bill. The acceptable forms of photo ID:

  • A North Carolina driver’s license
  • Identification card issued by the DMV
  • A U.S. passport
  • A military ID
  • An out-of-state driver’s license, as long as the voter has registered within 90 days

There are some cases in which a voter can vote without a valid ID.

You can find out more about that here:

Heading the tickets Tuesday are the races for president, with each party having a clear front-runner but no final answer. Donald Trump heads up a Republican field, and Hillary Clinton is looking to shake off a challenge from Sen. Bernie Sanders. The presidential candidates blanketed the state in the weeks before the election to hike interest in their campaigns.

At the state level, incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory is running for re-election on the Republican side. Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper is facing Kenneth Spaulding for the Democratic nomination and Cooper has a big lead, according to polling from Public Policy Polling of Raleigh.

A Cooper victory would set up a bitter fight in the general election against McCrory. Cooper and McCrory have sparred throughout their tenures in office and a showdown between the two could be as hard-fought as the epic Hunt-Helms Senate battle in 1984, when conservative Sen. Jesse Helms fought off progressive Gov. Jim Hunt to retain his Senate seat.

“Most people are considering North Carolina’s gubernatorial race to be one of the tightest in the country,” said David McLennan of Meredith College.

As of March 1, Cooper had $5.7 million in hand and McCrory had $4.3 million.

“Both parties see the importance of the Governor’s Mansion,” McLennan said. “The Republicans want to retain it because they have an agenda they want to get through the General Assembly in the session coming up. And the Democrats want to break the hold of the Republicans.”

Speaking of the Senate, the Republicans have the incumbent in Richard Burr of Winston-Salem. The Democratic field is less known and includes former Wake County legislator Deborah Ross, Spring Lake mayor Chris Rey, Durham businessman Kevin Griffin and St. Augustine’s graduate Ernest Reeves of Greenville.

Also on the ballot Tuesday at the state level are:

  • Lieutenant Governor
  • Commissioner of Agriculture
  • Commissioner of Labor
  • Commissioner of Insurance
  • State Auditor
  • Secretary of State
  • Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Treasurer


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