Record-breaking early voter turnout
In 2016, the numbers showed fewer people at the polls on the first day of early voting.
BEAUFORT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Voters waited in lines again on Friday, for day two of early voting, just like they did Thursday. Some even brought lawn chairs to sit in when the line to vote came to a halt.
In 2016, the numbers showed fewer people at the polls on the first day of early voting. Beaufort County Director of Elections Kellie Hopkins said, “I believe the first day in 2016, we had 1100 voters, so it was definitely more yesterday.”
According to Hopkins, the first day of early voting this year saw 2,000 voters.
In Craven County, there’s an even more significant increase. Craven County Board of Elections Director Melanie Wray said in 2016, 974 people voted on the first day of early voting. This year that number is 3,580.
Keith Lyon is a History Professor at Beaufort Community College, and he said history shows a few factors drive voter turnout.
“After economic collapses, economic depressions, periods when there’s a lot of social instability, you tend to see a rise in votes,”
For example, “Economic problems in the late 1830′s lead to an over 80 percent vote in 1840.” said Lyon.
Hopkins explains polls are mostly busy from 9-5 but remember they’re open for two more weeks.
“A good time to come is after 5:30 and before 7:30,” said Hopkins.
While historically voter turnout has gone up and down, this year is already seeing record high participating with absentee and early voting.
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