Crowds turn out for first day of early voting

Published 10:54 am Thursday, October 20, 2016

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — Hundreds of people piled in cars and paraded to Rowan County polls on Thursday, the first day of early voting.

For some voters, excitement from the presidential race brought them to the polls. Others “just wanted to get it over with.” Within the first hour, more than 100 people had cast ballots.

Early voting continues today until 6:30 p.m. at the Rowan County Board of Elections office in West End Plaza — 1935 Jake Alexander Blvd W., Suite D10. There will also be early voting on Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at West End Plaza, the former Salisbury Mall.

For 52-year-old Eric Stokes, it was his first time voting. Stokes said he decided to vote for the first time because America “needs a president that will get something done.” He planned to vote for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Stokes says he didn’t vote in past years because candidates for office have “all been the same.” Trump isn’t a “lifetime politician,” Stokes said.

Brad Cunningham was also among the hundreds of people who voted on Thursday. Cunningham said excitement wasn’t the right word to describe his reasoning for coming to vote on the first day.

“I think that 2008 was exciting, with (Barack) Obama and John McCain,” He said. “Then, things were exciting. You know, people were optimistic. Considering the people running, this year I feel like we need to limit the damage that’s caused.”

Cunningham said he voted for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, but wasn’t happy about it.

“I won’t say it’s a protest vote, but Trump makes me nervous,” he said.

For election-related questions, contact the Rowan County Board of Elections at 704-216-8410.

The full early voting schedule is as follows:

• The first week of early voting, Oct. 20-26, polls will be open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. only at the Board of Elections Office in West End Plaza.

• More polling places will be open Oct. 27-Nov. 5 on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. They include Rowan Public Library Headquarters, Cleveland Town Hall, Spencer Municipal Building, Rockwell American Legion Building and Rowan Public Library South Rowan Regional branch. The Board of Elections will also be open at those times.

• On Saturday, Oct. 29, all early voting sites mentioned above will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m

• On Saturday, Nov. 5 — the final chance to vote before Election Day — only the Board of Elections office will be open. Hours will be 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246