Record 3+ million cast ballots during NC early-voting period, officials say

Photo of people waiting in line at the Chavis Community Center after 1 p.m. on Saturday. Photo by Robert Richardson/WNCN
Photo of people waiting in line at the Chavis Community Center after 1 p.m. on Saturday. Photo by Robert Richardson/WNCN

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Lines were long in Wake County on the last day for early voting as state officials announced more than three million votes were already cast in North Carolina for the 2016 general election.

In a statement from the North Carolina Board of Elections, officials said the number of early voters or absentee voters are 44 percent of the state’s registered voters.

Related: Full coverage of Campaign 2016

Early voting ended at 1 p.m. in all counties, although people waiting in line were still allowed to vote. Early voting already exceeded 2012 figures by Friday, but percentages for Democratic and black voters were lower.

At the Chavis Community Center in Raleigh, about 100 people were still in line at 1 p.m. At Northern Regional Center in Wake Forest one, voter waited in line for more than three hours to cast an early vote.

Through 2 p.m. Saturday, 2.9 million voters had cast ballots during the 17-day in-person early voting period, a 13.4 percent increase over the entire 2012 early voting period, officials said.

Wake County set a new record with more than 302,000 residents casting their ballots for the 2016 General Election before the end of the early voting period. The previous early voting turnout record was 260,743 early voters for 2012 General Election.

“We are proud of the highest early voting turnout in the state’s history,” said Kim Westbrook Strach, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “Statewide, North Carolina had more early voting hours and more sites than ever before.”

— The Associated Press contributed to this report

Early voting on Saturday in Wake Forest. WNCN photo
Early voting on Saturday in Wake Forest. WNCN photo

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