Early one-stop voting for the Nov. 6 general election begins today across North Carolina.
Voters in area counties have an opportunity to cast ballots ranging from president and member of Congress to governor, lieutenant governor, Council of State member, state legislator, county commissioner, register of deeds and soil and water supervisor.
Voters in Pasquotank County, including Elizabeth City, will also get to vote on a referendum approving a quarter-cent local option sales tax.
One-stop voting will be available at county elections offices from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, through Nov. 2. In addition, Saturday one-stop voting will be available Nov. 3 only, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Those who don’t vote early may do so on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6.
More than 2.4 million North Carolina voters cast in-person early votes in 2008, or 55 percent of all ballots cast in the general election. Many attribute early voting to part of President Barack Obama’s 14,000-vote win over Republican John McCain, the first for a Democrat in North Carolina in 32 years.
Republicans historically have emphasized mail-in absentee votes, and GOP voters again have turned them in at a rate higher than their registration totals so far in 2012, according to state elections data reviewed by Catawba College political science professor Michael Bitzer. But Democrats swamped early voting sites four years ago, casting 560,000 more ballots than Republicans.
State elections director Gary Bartlett said he believes the in-person early vote this year will meet or exceed 2008 totals. Bitzer predicts two-thirds of the ballots could be cast before Election Day. There are now nearly 6.6 million registered voters, 300,000 more compared to November 2008.
“There are going to be long lines at early voting sites and long lines on Election Day,” he said.
In Pasquotank County, the elections office has been especially busy the past couple of months. Since Aug. 1, 1,660 new voter registrations have been processed in the county. There have also been many registrations removed from the rolls for various reasons.
The total number of registered voters in Pasquotank is now 29,080. There are 15,152 Democrats, 8,053 unaffiliated, 5,790 Republicans and 85 Libertarians.
The total registration figure is up by 737 from 28,343 in the 2008 General Election. In that election, 18,327 voters cast ballots. Of that number, 13,447 were absentee ballots.
Meanwhile, Chowan County has 10,703 registered voters now, up from 10,551 in 2008.
The current registration numbers are 5,681 Democrats, 2,549 Republicans, 2,461 unaffiliated, and 12 Libertarians.
In the 2008 General Election, there were 7,568 votes cast in Chowan. The number of absentee ballots cast was 5,052.
Currituck County in 2008 had 16,516 registered voters. The total votes cast were 11,170 and the total absentee votes cast were 4,341.
Perquimans County has 9,951 registered voters, of which 4,758 are Democrats, 2,746 are unaffiliated, 2,429 are Republicans and 18 are Libertarians.
In the 2008 General Election, Perquimans had 9,391 registered voters. There were 6,610 ballots cast in that election. The number of absentee ballots cast was not immediately available.
Numbers were not immediately available for Camden, but Elections Director Elaine Best noted earlier this week that she has seen an uptick in the number of unaffiliated voters in recent years.