Small changes after first weekend of early voting

Long lines and long waits marked the first few days of early voting in Eastern North Carolina.
Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 6:57 PM EDT
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - The lines seemed to move much more smoothly Monday than the first few days of early voting in North Carolina.

It could be, at least in part, because of small changes made in and out of the voting booth to make those lines move more quickly.

“I think the line looks longer than it really is,” said Beaufort County Elections Director Kellie Hopkins. “People are social distancing and we are sanitizing between voters. So, that takes a little bit more time.”

Over 1.5 million North Carolinians have already voted in the 2020 election, including over 800,000 in-person. State election officials say they believe that to be a record.

It’s forced election boards up and down Eastern North Carolina to make some changes. To not discourage voters from having their voices heard, some election board have opened additional ballot boxes and curbside voting spots. While others have brought in additional staff and opened more early voting locations.

“We were not quite expecting those numbers,” said Hopkins. “People are more amped up about this election for one reason or another. It’s almost electric. Everybody is very adamant one way or another.”

That excitement is surging voter turnout this election cycle for people who wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I don’t trust the absentee and I don’t trust the mail-in this year,” said New Bern Early Voter Paul Douthit.

“Maybe in the next election, maybe they can make it more secure than what it is at this particular time,” said Donald Herring.

Early voting in North Carolina continues through October 31.

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