Early Voting Numbers Are High In NC

Oct 24, 2018

Data from the first week of early voting show North Carolinians are turning out in unprecedented numbers.

So far, of the state's 7 million registered voters, more than 400,000 have cast early ballots at the polls and almost just as many have requested mail-in ballots.

"Typically we tend to see about a 40 to 45 percent voter turnout in midterms," said Prof. Michael Bitzer, who teaches state politics and history at Catawba College. Bitzer has been tracking and analyzing current and past voting data from the North Carolina Board of Elections.

"That goes up to two-thirds--60, 67 percent--in presidential years," he added. "I think we may actually be kind of shooting for in between, maybe about 50 percent. That would be a huge dynamic and a significant shift in North Carolina midterm elections."

Bitzer said it's hard to put a finger on exactly what is behind the surge in turnout.

"Yes we have a state supreme court race, yes we've got the constitutional amendments, but this is something that really should not be happening without a major U.S. senate race or a governor's race happening at the statewide level," he said.

Bitzer said the early numbers suggest enthusiasm is spread across the major voting blocs, Democrat, Republican and unaffiliated.