Record early voting totals precede smooth start to election day

Eamon Queeney—The North State Journal
People head into a polling place at the Wake County Board of Elections in downtown Raleigh .

RALEIGH — The North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) gave a press conference Tuesday morning to report preliminary early vote totals and election day operations across the state.A record number of voters cast their ballot early this election, with more than 3.1 million having already voted, representing a turn out of 45.1% of all registered voters in the state according to the Board of Elections.State Board of Elections Public Information Officers, Patrick Gannon, addressed the media on the issue.”We had record turn out during 17 days of early voting,” said Gannon. “We had more early voting sites, more early voting hours, we had more weekend hours than ever before for early voting in North Carolina.”As far as the status of election day operations across the state, Gannon said the morning has gone smoothly most counties and stressed patience on what will be a busy day at polling sites.”We encourage everyone going to the polls today to first of all, be patient.” urged Gannon. “Be courteous to fellow voters and poll workers at your site. review your ballot carefully before casting it, whether you’re using the electronic voting machine, or paper ballot. Immediately, and I want to stress immediately, report any other irregularities or other problems to election officials at your polling place if you encounter them. We want to make election day as stress free as possible for poll workers and voters in NC. Please help us in ensuring that that happens today.”There have been some early issues with electronic ballots in Durham County malfunctioning, though.”We were notified this morning of a situation in Durham with the electronic poll books they were using,” reported Gannon. “Those are the books they use to pull up your voter information…We had some glitches in a few precincts with the computers, so the State Board, out of an abundance of caution, directed all of Durham county to use paper poll books instead of the electronic poll books.”Gannon said they are working with county officials to speed up the process and ensure there are no delays in voting. The electronic poll books in question experienced fglitches in five Durham County precincts and are used in approximately 23 counties across the state according to NCSBE General Counsel, Josh Lawson. No similar problems have been reported in other counties that use them.According to officials a recent court ordered reversal of a purging of voter rolls is being complied with and those voters will be able to cast votes as if they were never reoved from the lists, according to Lawson.When asked about reports of voter intimidation, a worry of many Democrats as Republican presidential candidate candidate Donald Trump asked supporters to monitor polls to report issues, Gannon stated that they have seen no evidence of such problems.”We’re aware of the national reports on those issues,” said Gannon. “As far as I know we don’t have any direct reports of anything like that. If we do get reports we have an investigations team at the State Board of Elections, one of the few states that has such a team, and they are constantly on the phones and will go to the counties if they need to to investigate.”Further, rumors of a looming petition to NCSBE to extend voting hours for counties affected by Hurricane Matthew, at this point remain conjecture as the NCSBE has not accepted any such complaints.”We have seen media reports; we have no official complaint about that,” said Gannon.Check NSJOnline.com for election updates through out the day as North Carolina stands in the spot light of the 20126 elections. Polls close at 7:30PM, and all voters in line by that time will be able to cast a vote according to NCSBE.