Early voting starts tomorrow in NC: Know before you go

Early voting in North Carolina begins Thursday, Oct. 20 and runs through Saturday, Nov. 5. 

Hours of operation vary, with most sites opening at 8 a.m. Many sites will remain open daily until 7:30 p.m., while others close early at either 3 or 5 p.m. Voters should check locations for specific hours, which can be found here.

Throughout the early voting period, or “one-stop early voting,” 359 sites will be open throughout the state, up 17% from the 2018 Midterm Election when North Carolina had 307 sites open, according to the State Board of Elections. 

In-person early voting remains the most popular means of casting a ballot in North Carolina, with 65% of the total ballots in the 2020 General Election cast during one-stop early voting. 

“The 100 county boards of elections have spent months preparing for the start of in-person voting for the important 2022 general election,” State Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell said. “The bipartisan election officials who work in each early voting site are prepared for a smooth voting process and to ensure the ballots of all eligible voters are counted.”

Voting is already underway in North Carolina, even before polling places have opened. 

As of Tuesday, October 18 at 3:30 p.m., more than 40,000 ballots had already been returned through vote-by-mail, representing a turnout of 0.6% already, according to L2 voter data.

While turnout so far is only a fraction of what it will be by Election Day, Democrats are off to an early lead over Republicans in turnout. Of those who have returned a mail ballot so far, more than 20,000 are Democrats, while fewer than 7,000 Republicans have cast a ballot. Meanwhile, about 13,500 voters with no party affiliation have returned ballots, the L2 data shows.

Women have returned more ballots than men so far, with nearly 23,000 cast. Male voters have returned 17,535 ballots.

Older voters are showing up early, with more than 23,000 ballots cast by Tuesday among those 65 and older, followed by those between the ages of 50 and 64, who have returned nearly 8,000 ballots. Voters 18-29, the youngest cohort, have returned nearly 4,000 ballots, while those 30-39 and 40-49 have returned fewer than 3,000 each.

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