Workers stay late to help with long lines in Wake County early voting

early voting

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Poll workers at Raleigh’s Chavis Community Center stayed late to make sure everyone on site before Saturday’s deadline got to cast a ballot.

“If you’re in line or your car has a number on it at 2 o’clock, we vote you,” Ren Pridgeon said.

Saturday marked the third day and first weekend of early voting in North Carolina, and Pridgeon said he’s never seen a turnout like this in his 40 years as a poll worker.

He said he does not mind helping voters who arrived on time but found themselves waiting in line.

Pridgeon supervised a team assisting with curbside ballots. Voters with handicapped tags can stay in their cars as workers run their paperwork to and from the inside polls.

“We take at least three trips. Inside, you go to your check in table or your registration table, okay we do that for you, then you move to your ballot table to get your ballot, we do that for you, then you go to the tabulator to insert your ballot, we do that for you,” Pridgeon said.

Drivers even have their “I voted” stickers delivered to the cars at the end of the process.

Nikita Honor and Matisha Hill arrived just a few minutes before 2 p.m. They had no idea curbside voting was an option, but were thrilled to have it.

“We thought we were going to have to get out and run up to the line. We saw pregnant people running to get up to the line, but the curbside is really nice,” Honor said.

“My wife really has bad knees, so that’s a lot of walking and standing just for her to vote, and voting is important. We probably wouldn’t have it in by 2, either.”

Pridgeon said on the last early voting day for the primary election, the polling place closed at 2, but there were still 67 cars in line. He said the crew didn’t turn anyone away, and made sure every single person was able to cast their ballot.

Connie Elliott was the final voter Saturday at the Chavis Center. She’s on an oxygen tank, and a friend drove her to the polling place. She finished her voting process around 3:15.

“It’s convenient for the ones that can’t stand up for a very long time. It’s very very good for the ones that are in wheelchairs,” Elliott said.

“I appreciate it very much, I think it’s very nice of them, very patient to help me out.”

Some people came to the community center after 2 when they saw people still voting. However, they learned they would need to come back another day.

Lawrence Evans said he would do it as soon as possible.

“I’m a go to work, put my eight hours in, and then I’ll come here tomorrow, it closes at 5, so I’ll be here tomorrow to get my vote in,” he said.

Sunday early voting is in the afternoon from 1 to 5 and then weekdays from 9 a.m to 7 .pm.

Find your early voting location here – http://vt.ncsbe.gov/ossite/

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