Early voters in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina voters surged to the polls on Thursday, October 15th. It was the first day of early voting setting a single-day record and voters statewide. They doubled the first-day numbers of 2016.
More than 35,000 Mecklenburg County residents visited polling sites Thursday, according to county elections officials said. Therefore, that number surpassed the county’s previous single-day record for early voting, nearly 30,000, set in 2016. 13,000 votes cast on the first day in that year.
On Thursday, statewide, more than 333,000 people voted, in comparison with the 166,000 on the first day of early voting in 2016. State officials said the turnout may have broken the record set in 2016.
There were some long lines at some polling locations, yet state elections officials said few problems came up. As a result, Mecklenburg County officials said a poll worker in SouthPark just gave a voter incorrect information about absentee ballots.
In Gaston County, elections director Adam Ragan saw 10 to 15 people lining up when he got to work at 5:45 a.m.
“They wanted to get it over with and be the first,” Ragan said. By 2 p.m., about 3,200 Gaston residents had voted. The wait times ran up to two hours for curbside voting, he said. But, those standing in line, had typical waits of 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes.
On Thursday morning, long lines formed outside 33 Mecklenburg County polling sites that opened on the first day of early voting for a significant election. Some voters waited several hours to take part.
Outside Spectrum Center in uptown, the largest of the sites, about 100 people waited for the 8 a.m. voting to start. There was already a handful in line when Charlotte Hornets employees came at 6:15 a.m.
Voters formed a zig-zag line familiar to Disney World visitors in order to maintain social distances. As they came into the building, voters were wanded with hand-held metal detectors.
Before the voting began at the Bojangles Entertainment Complex on Independence Boulevard, at least 150 voters came with coffee, masks and voting guides stood in line. They stood apart for social distancing. Many also wore masks or face shields.