Early Voting

Flickr user Jeffrey Cohen

More North Carolina voters cast their ballots early this year than did in the last mid-term elections, according to State Board of Elections figures released Sunday. A new election law limited the number of early voting days but increased the total hours.

Roughly 1.1 million people voted by mail or in person at polling stations by the end of early voting on Saturday, up 20 percent from 961,000 in 2010, the board of elections said.

Here are three possible causes for the increased turn-out:
 

Photo: A Massachusetts voting station sign
Flickr user Katri Niemi

Saturday marks the final hours of early voting ahead of Tuesday's election. Polling sites across the state will close at 1 p.m.

The number of early voting days was reduced this year from 17 to 10, leading to a series of lawsuits fearing a decrease in voter opportunity and turnout, particularly among minorities. But State Board of Elections spokesman Josh Lawson says African American turnout has already been high.

Flickr user Joe Shlabotnik

A federal court judge has issued a preliminary injunction on two portions of North Carolina's new voting law, following a decision from a federal appellate court this week saying the state should allow same-day registration during early voting in this year's election.

Irving Joyner, an attorney with the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, which is challenging the law in court, says that as many as 30,000 African American voters used same-day registration during early voting in the 2012 election.

Rosanell Eaton, 92, and Mary E. Perry, 84, attended U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem for Thursday’s scheduling hearing.
Jorge Valencia

A federal appeals court has suspended parts of North Carolina’s new voting law, saying it may disproportionately affect black voters. State lawmakers are already asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the decision.

The ruling will allow voters to register on the same day they cast a ballot during early voting, and to vote outside of their assigned precinct.

Early Voting
Leoneda Inge

A  federal appeals Court in Charlotte heard arguments Thursday on whether or not changes to North Carolina's voting law can go into effect before the November election. The changes were passed by the Republican-led General Assembly last year. Critics argue the laws restrict access to voting, particularly among minority groups.

The North Carolina NAACP has argued the changes are a violation of the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause, and of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

voting sign
Flickr creative commons

Appalachian State University will not have a early voting site on campus for this year's general election. 

The state Board of Elections denied a request from Watauga County Board of Elections member Kathleen Campbell, who submitted a separate early voting plan from the two other members. 

Early Voting
Leoneda Inge

Opponents of the state's new voting law are planning their next steps after a judge refused to put the law on hold for the November election. A district judge on Friday denied a preliminary injunction for a law limiting the number of early voting days and getting rid of same-day registration at the polls.

Advocates will decide this week whether or not to appeal the decision. Either way, leaders say they are directing their attention to boots-on-the-ground efforts.

voting sign
Flickr creative commons

Early voters in North Carolina have just one more day to cast ballots ahead of Primary Day on May 6th.  The one-stop voting period ends around noon on Saturday.    

Board spokesman Josh Lawson says Thursday's voter totals have not yet been counted, but numbers through Wednesday have been encouraging. 

Vote
Theresa Thompson / Creative Commons/Flickr

Early voting begins today for the May primary election.

Today is the first day North Carolinians can cast their votes in this year's primary election. 289 sites across the state will be open for residents to come to the polls. That's 77 more locations than in 2010.

voting sign
Flickr creative commons

  

As the May primary draws near, issues over voter rights persist. The controversial voter law passed last year requires photo identification and reduces the number of days for early voting in the May 6th primaries. A lawsuit challenging the measure may soon force legislators to release their correspondence related to drafting the legislation. Meanwhile, the State Board of Elections released a report identifying hundreds of cases of possible voter fraud. 

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