In N. Carolina, 41 percent of voters have already cast ballots

Charlotte ObserverNovember 3, 2008 

More than 2.5 million N.C. voters cast their ballots early this year, more than doubling the previous record of 1.1 million, set in 2004.

That's an astonishing turnout of 41 percent of the state's registered voters — before Election Day.

It comes in a year when North Carolina has down-to-the-wire races for governor and U.S. senator, not to mention the Barack Obama-John McCain battle for the state's 15 electoral votes.

“Early voting has been extraordinary,” said Ferrel Guillory, director of the UNC Program on Public Life. "The state did early voting to give people choices and convenience and it's worked."

In Mecklenburg, the combination of walk-in early voters and absentee voters is expected to total 232,838, said Michael Dickerson, the county's director of elections.

That's 37 percent of the county's registered voters. In 2004, 91,354 voted early in Mecklenburg.

“I thought we did pretty darn good this year,” Dickerson said Sunday, adding he had expected the figure to be 150,000 or 160,000.

The local site with the biggest turnout: Marion Diehl Recreation Center on Tyvola Road, where 15,487 voted. It had the most voting machines.

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