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Voters turn out in large numbers to cast their ballots early

By Sarah Nagem
snagem@salisburypost.com
Judy Harley is a Republican, but she voted a straight Democratic ticket Thursday, the first day of early voting across the state. Joyce Compton is a registered Democrat, but she voted for Republicans in the big races.
Harley, 60, of Spencer, said the economy is her biggest concern this election year.
“I don’t like the way things are. … Something’s got to change,” she said.
Compton, 62, of Salisbury, said Republican John McCain’s stance on abortion convinced her to vote for him for president instead of Democrat Barack Obama.
After months ó years, really ó of candidates spewing their why-I’m-better-than-the-other-guy-or-woman speeches, voters finally got to choose Thursday.
In Rowan County, several voters cast their ballots at the county administration building on Innes Street. The number of voters who took advantage of early voting here was not available Thursday evening.
But by about 2:20 Thursday afternoon, 661 people had voted, a poll worker said.
Two other sites are scheduled to open at 10 a.m. today ó the Rowan Public Library in China Grove and in Rockwell.
The library’s headquarters in Salisbury and Cleveland Town Hall will become early-voting sites starting Monday.
Some people who cast their ballots Thursday said they wanted to avoid the rush on Election Day.
“It cuts down on frustration,” said Albert Fairley, 56, of Salisbury.
Fairley drives trucks for Food Lion. He works from about 2 a.m. until noon, he said.
Those work hours wouldn’t make it easy for him to vote Nov. 4, he said.
Richard Davis, 35, of Salisbury, also drives trucks for Food Lion.
“I’m the type I don’t like to wait ’til the last minute,” Davis said.
They both voted for Democrats in the big races: Obama, Kay Hagan for Senate and Beverly Perdue for governor.
Sandra Wilkinson, 51, of Salisbury, said she voted Republican: McCain, incumbent Elizabeth Dole for Senate and Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory for governor.
“I just think McCrory has a good track record,” Wilkinson said. “He’s done a lot of good for the city of Charlotte.”
Wilkinson said she opted for early voting because she would be unavailable to cast her ballot on Nov. 4.
Leah Ward, 24, of Salisbury, said she had already made up her mind about which candidates she liked, so she decided not to wait for Election Day.
“I just feel like it’s important to go out and do it as soon as we can,” Ward said.
Residents can register to vote at the five early-voting sites in Rowan and cast their ballots the same day. The voter-registration deadline to vote on Election Day has already passed.
The Rockwell and China Grove sites will be open starting today from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday until Oct. 31.
The sites at the library’s headquarters and in Cleveland will be open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday from Oct. 20 through Oct. 31.
The voting site at the county administration building is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until Oct. 31.
Residents can cast ballots Nov. 1 from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the county administration building and the library headquarters.

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