Election Day isn’t until tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 4, but thousands of Buncombe County voters have already gone to the polls.
The percentage of local residents who voted early was relatively high this year despite a new state law that reduced the number of days it was available.
This year 41,746 Buncombe residents voted early, compared to 34,296 in the last off-year election, held in 2010. Nearly twice as many registered Buncombe Democrats voted early than Republicans, according to Carolina Transparency, a tracking website by the conservative Civitas Institute. The totals still represent a small percentage of the county’s nearly 200,000 total registered voters. The average age of early voters in Buncombe was 59.
Early voting was available for 10 days across the state, ending Nov. 1. That was 7 days less than in 2010. But concerns that the reduced time period would lower turn-out didn’t seem to come to fruition. The new state law maintained the overall amount of early voting hours at the same levels as 2010 by providing the service at more locations for longer hours within the reduced time span. The new law also eliminated same-day registration.
The early voting turnout in Buncombe mirrored turnout across the state. Nearly 1.1 million North Carolina voters cast early ballots this year, compared to just over 900,000 people in 2010. Statewide, about 16 percent more Democrats turned out than Republicans. According to the North Carolina Board of Elections, it was the highest early voting turnout for a midterm election in the state’s history.
Polls are showing that several important local and state contests will be close this year.
Stay tuned to the Xpress politics page for ongoing election coverage.