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Stories and features about North Carolina candidates, voters, and the politics of the 2014 mid-term elections. Polls are open across N.C. until 7:30 p.m. on election day, November 4.

Early Voting Starts Today

Theresa Thompson
Creative Commons/Flickr

Early voting begins today for the May primary election.

Today is the first day North Carolinians can cast their votes in this year's primary election. 289 sites across the state will be open for residents to come to the polls. That's 77 more locations than in 2010.

But the number of days the polls are open has shrunk. Last year, state legislators passed a law that shortened the early voting period from 17 to 10 days. According to this law, counties are supposed to provide the same number of hours available to vote as in 2010 by staying open longer or by opening more early voting sites.

But that's not easy for some rural counties with cash-strapped budgets. The same new law also allows exemptions enabling some areas to offer fewer hours as long as both county and state elections boards approve. Some Democrats say the shrunken early voting period was designed to discourage African-American voters, but Republicans strongly deny it.

Jessica Jones covers both the legislature in Raleigh and politics across the state. Before her current assignment, Jessica was given the responsibility to open up WUNC's first Greensboro Bureau at the Triad Stage in 2009. She's a seasoned public radio reporter who's covered everything from education to immigration, and she's a regular contributor to NPR's news programs. Jessica started her career in journalism in Egypt, where she freelanced for international print and radio outlets. After stints in Washington, D.C. with Voice of America and NPR, Jessica joined the staff of WUNC in 1999. She is a graduate of Yale University.
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