NC Voter Turnout High, Not Record-Setting

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A state elections official says voter turnout in North Carolina's election won't reach 2008 record levels, but it'll get pretty close.

Elections numbers Wednesday afternoon showed 4.5 million ballots had been cast for a voter turnout so far of 67.7 percent based on more than 6.6 million registered voters in the state.

State Board of Elections Executive Director Gary Bartlett said he still expected turnout to edge toward 69 percent after mail-in absentee ballots are collected through Friday and provisional ballots are reviewed.

Turnout for the 2008 general election reached more than 69.5 percent -- the highest in recent North Carolina political history.

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Rain which moved in our southern counties this afternoon slowed down voting in some locations, but other places reported a steady stream of voters.

Polls across the state closed at 7:30 p.m.

The slowdown was a sharp contrast to this morning when many election workers were met with voters waiting to be among the first to cast their vote on election day.

About 40 people lined up outside Hooker Memorial Christian Church on Greenville Blvd. before the polls opened at 6:30 a.m. WITN's Cassandra Bell reported the first 30 minutes of voting at that location were "steady." Officials at the church said 96 people voted there by 7 a.m. About 1,400 people in that voting precinct voted early, officials said.

Pitt County Elections Director Dave Davis says by 2 p.m. they had 16,518 voters, compared to 15,743 four years ago. Adding in one-stop and absentee voters, the turnout is just under 58%.

Voters at three precincts in Beaufort County experienced some issues early this morning that the local board of elections director says were addressed and quickly resolved.

Overall in Beaufort County, Elections Director Kellie Hopkins said the polls had been very busy in the morning, and she expected a good day of voter turnout.

In Craven County, they report a decent turnout with crowds mirroring those of 2008. Election officials advise people to be prepared to wait in some locations.

Carteret County says they've had no problems so far today with precincts busy, and the longest lines around 20 minutes.

Election workers in Onslow County tell us they are fielding a lot of calls about whether people are registered, but everything else is running okay.

State Board of Elections Executive Director Gary Bartlett said he expected about 69 percent of the more than 6.6 million registered voters would cast ballots in the election cycle that ends Tuesday including early and absentee voters. Four years ago, about 70 percent of those registered cast ballots. That was a record for recent state elections history.

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