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Political notebook: All early voting sites open Thursday

By Josh Bergeron

josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

Starting Thursday, all early voting sites in Rowan County will be open.

So far, only the Rowan County Board of Elections headquarters in West End Plaza has been open for early voting. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, it will continue to be the only site open. Five more sites will open at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.

The additional sites include: the Rowan Public Library Headquarters in Salisbury, Cleveland Town Hall, Spencer Municipal Building, Rockwell American Legion Building and Rowan Public Library South Branch in China Grove. Hours for all sites will be 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Only on the weekends will early voting sites have different hours.

In the first two days of early voting, 2,857 people cast ballots at the Rowan Board of Elections headquarters. On the first day — Oct. 20 — 1,467 people voted. That’s more than the first day of early voting in 2012. On the second day of early voting this year, 1,390 people cast ballots.

In order to top early voting totals from the 2012 and 2008 presidential election, more than 33,000 people will need to cast ballots by Nov. 5 — when early voting ends. In other words, more than 35 percent of Rowan County voters will need to vote.

As of Oct. 1, there were 93,213 registered voters in Rowan County.

During early voting, Rowan residents can register and vote on the same day.

The early voting schedule is as follows:

• On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, only the Rowan County Board of Elections Office at West End Plaza — 1935 Jake Alexander Boulevard W, Suite D10 — will be open for early voting from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

• All early voting sites will be open on weekdays starting Oct. 27 to Nov. 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

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

On Saturday, Nov. 5 — the final day of early voting — only the board of elections will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Governor’s race the closest statewide political contest

With two weeks until election day, polling seems to show North Carolina’s gubernatorial race as a tossup.

Democratic challenger and Attorney General Roy Cooper has seen significant polling leads over the past couple months. However, Republican incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory has seen a slight uptick in recent polling results. Cooper’s lead is less than one percentage point in the latest Real Clear Politics average.

The race is considered a tossup. It’s closer than the U.S. Senate and presidential race in North Carolina.

In the most recent poll from the Civitas Institute — a right-leaning organization —McCrory leads by 2 percentage points, which is within the margin of error.

The state’s other two top political races haven’t changed significantly. Republican incumbent Sen. Richard Burr leads his Democratic challenger Deborah Ross by 2.8 percentage points, according to the Real Clear Politics average. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton leads Republican nominee Donald Trump by 2.5 percentage points in the Real Clear Politics average.

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