RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Candidates, interest groups and the public are gearing up for the start of early in-person voting in the battleground state of North Carolina.
RELATED: Find your early voting location
The early-voting period begins Thursday, with at least one site open in each of the 100 counties. The early-voting period covers 17 days until Nov. 5. It grew by a week after a federal court struck down a 2013 law scaling back the number of days.
Early in-person voting has been very popular — 56 percent of people who voted in the 2012 presidential election cast ballots by that method. People can also register to vote at early-voting centers and vote at the same time.
Voters at the the Lynn Road Community Center began lining up two hours before the polls opened at 9 a.m.
Many voters there told CBS North Carolina’s David Hurst that they were anxious to vote in this particular election and wanted to get it out of the way.
Another voter said they were encouraged by the long lines.
“This is wonderful, it’s very encouraging. Everybody’s vote is so crucial in this election. This is probably the most consequential election of my lifetime so it’s wonderful to see people caring about it and showing up,” said early voter Pat Long.
There are currently nine different precincts for early voting in Wake County and 11 additional locations will open up Oct. 27. As long as you live in Wake County, you can vote at any of the precincts.
Election officials expect lines to get longer towards the end of early voting, so they recommend that voters go to the polls as soon as possible.
Polls will be open until 7 p.m. tonight and early voting will last until Nov. 5.
This fall’s ballot features races for president, U.S. Senate, governor, the Council of State and a host of judicial and local races.