Early Voting

One week to go before Election Day 2020 and the votes continue to pour in by the millions. Behind every ballot cast is a voter wielding the pen and filling in the bubbles for who they want to see in office.

On this episode of the Politics Podcast, we hear from a handful of voters across the battleground state of North Carolina about what’s on their minds. Host Jeff Tiberii also talks with WUNC politics reporter Rusty Jacobs about Granville County and why it's a region to keep a close eye on this election.
 


This week: North Carolina voters turned out in record numbers for the start of in-person early voting. Lines were made longer by social distancing — the polls are open as cases of COVID-19 across the state are surging. 

Democratic strategist Aisha Dew and Republican Clark Reimer join host Jeff Tiberii to offer some insight into those developments, as well as a confrontational gubernatorial debate between incumbent Gov. Roy Cooper and challenger Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. 
 


Military personnel have been voting by mail since the Civil War. This year, some polls suggest that troops' political preferences may be changing.

Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

Updated at 3:20 p.m.  

Long lines formed at polling places across North Carolina on Thursday as the battleground state kicked off early in-person voting. Early voting locations that opened in all 100 counties of the high-stakes swing state quickly drew crowds. More than 500,000 people have already cast mail-in absentee ballots amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

WUNC has all the coverage you need this election season. Check out our 2020 Voter Guide for information on absentee ballots and more. And be sure to check out our Races To Watch stories for everything you need to know about candidates in statewide and legislative elections. Subscribe to WUNC's Politics Podcast, and follow reporters Rusty Jacobs and Jeff Tiberii on Twitter.

The North Carolina General Assembly recently enacted legislation to ease absentee-by-mail voting this year and to make polls safer for in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

Voters fill out their ballots at the Hamilton County Board of Elections as early voting begins statewide, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016, in Cincinnati.
John Minchillo / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The North Carolina State Board of Elections voted along party lines Monday to back plans for early voting on Sundays in some counties.

next gen america
Rachel Weber / Next Gen America

Registering to vote is usually an interactive, interpersonal effort, where organizations host registration events at college campuses or churches. But in the time of pandemic, it's changed the way nonprofit organization are reaching potential voters.

Leoneda Inge / WUNC

More than 1 million North Carolina residents have registered, or re-registered, to vote since the 2016 election. A lot of the new voters are young - and are more than twice as likely to identify as Latinx or Asian than in previous elections.

A sign indicates a no-student drop-off zone with Wake County public school buses in the background.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

A school district in North Carolina has been busing students to polling place so they can vote, register to vote or just to have a look.

After three days of one-stop, early voting, which started on Thursday, the number of accepted ballots cast in Democratic primaries is 44,189, over 13,000 more than the 30,539 Republican primary ballots. 

NC A&T students filled the commission chamber of the Old Guilford County Courthouse to ask that their campus be an early voting site next year.
Courtesy of Ivan Saul Cutler

North Carolina’s Board of Elections will consider using North Carolina A&T University as an early voting site for the 2020 primary elections after demands from its students and faculty.

Early in-person voting is starting for two special congressional elections in North Carolina.

Fayetteville State University's marching band kicks off the early vote event with President Bill Clinton at the university in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Rishika Dugyala / Medill News Service

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.

Voter stickers
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

North Carolina might yet play a role in what some have predicted will become a blue wave.

The latest election fundraising totals show that Democrats in two North Carolina Congressional battlegrounds have fared well.

The General Assembly passed a bill today that would change early voting times. Democrats say the bill that has been touted by Republicans as a measure to expand early voting, could actually make it harder for some to vote.

Photo: 'Vote Here' sign in English and Spanish
Erik Hersman / Flickr

Republican lawmakers are looking again at changing the rules on early voting, a popular idea which has prompted legal action.

a vote here sign in Carrboro
Elizabeth Baier / WUNC

The gates are opening wider for North Carolina voters to cast ballots for next month's primary elections.

The congregation at New Light Missionary Baptist Church in Greensboro, NC took part of an initiative called Souls to the Polls that sought to increase African-American voter turnout in the 2016 general election.
Katie Stephens / WUNC

The battle for votes is in full swing this last week of early voting across North Carolina. Social justice and voting rights groups have been working especially hard to get African Americans to the polls. They say the demographic group holds the key to who wins on November 8th.

Jess Clark / WUNC

Early voting is off to a fast start in many North Carolina counties. As of Sunday, 408,906 voters had cast a ballot in North Carolina, according to the State Board of Elections.

NC A&T, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Black Voters
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Numbers have consistently shown black voters to overwhelmingly support Barack Obama. And at Tuesday's rally in Greensboro, one would have thought he was running for a third term as President.

Photo: A Massachusetts voting station sign
Katri Niemi / Flickr

Following a three year battle over ballot access, voting activists are content with where things stand a few weeks prior to the start of early voting. Last week, the State Board of Elections reached compromises on more than 30 county disputes over the scope of early voting. It is the latest moment in a long legislative and legal saga.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

On this episode of the WUNCPolitics Podcast, Frank Stasio talks with Jeff Tiberii about the 12-hour meeting held by the State Board of Elections on Thursday.

It was a remarkable meeting that considered and frequently altered the county-level early voting plans that were in dispute. These decisions will play a direct role in how the races for president, governor, senate – anyone on the ballot – plays out this fall.

Voting sign
JustGrimes on Flickr

The North Carolina State Board of Elections makes final decisions on early voting schedules where the local boards couldn't come to an agreement. Leaders on both sides of the aisle weighed in. Will the election rules finally be set or will more legal action follow? Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC Capitol bureau chief Jeff Tiberii about the latest. 

A picture of an 'I Voted' sticker.
Vox Efx / Flickr

County boards of election are racing to meet an August 19th deadline to put together new early voting plans.

The 10-day early voting schedule adopted earlier this year had to be scrapped when a federal court struck down North Carolina's 2012 voting law last month.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

Early voting is underway in North Carolina's second primary of the year. Two incumbent members of Congress face off against each other. Also on the ballot is a seat on the state's Supreme Court.

At the legislature, the Senate wraps up its budget proposal and lawmakers move behind closed doors to hash out a compromise between the House and Senate plans.

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest.

A picture of a voting sign.
Keith Ivey / flickr.com/photos/kcivey/480629716

Early primary voting begins tomorrow morning and runs through March 12.

North Carolina State Board of Elections Spokeswoman Jackie Hyland says early ballots offer the same candidates as the March 15 primary ballot. But early voters may register the same day as they vote.

Hyland says the a state law requiring valid photo identification is now in effect.  Voters without ID may sign an affidavit explaining why they have no ID and receive a provisional ballot.

Flickr user Jeffrey Cohen

More North Carolina voters cast their ballots early this year than did in the last mid-term elections, according to State Board of Elections figures released Sunday. A new election law limited the number of early voting days but increased the total hours.

Roughly 1.1 million people voted by mail or in person at polling stations by the end of early voting on Saturday, up 20 percent from 961,000 in 2010, the board of elections said.

Here are three possible causes for the increased turn-out:
 

Photo: A Massachusetts voting station sign
Katri Niemi / Flickr

Saturday marks the final hours of early voting ahead of Tuesday's election. Polling sites across the state will close at 1 p.m.

The number of early voting days was reduced this year from 17 to 10, leading to a series of lawsuits fearing a decrease in voter opportunity and turnout, particularly among minorities. But State Board of Elections spokesman Josh Lawson says African American turnout has already been high.

A picture of people in voting booths
Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal court judge has issued a preliminary injunction on two portions of North Carolina's new voting law, following a decision from a federal appellate court this week saying the state should allow same-day registration during early voting in this year's election.

Irving Joyner, an attorney with the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, which is challenging the law in court, says that as many as 30,000 African American voters used same-day registration during early voting in the 2012 election.

Photo: Rosanell Eaton and Mary E. Perry
Jorge Valencia

A federal appeals court has suspended parts of North Carolina’s new voting law, saying it may disproportionately affect black voters. State lawmakers are already asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the decision.

The ruling will allow voters to register on the same day they cast a ballot during early voting, and to vote outside of their assigned precinct.

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