New voting sites bring thousands to cast ballots

Published 12:10 am Friday, October 28, 2016

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — Bolstered by the opening of several sites, Rowan County may have set an early voting record on Thursday.

The number of people who voted on Thursday is larger than any single day in 2008 and 2012.

Statistics provided Thursday evening show 11,259 ballots cast during the first six days of early voting. That number is slightly less than at the same point in 2008 and 2012. However, it’s thousands more than total one day earlier. On Thursday morning, the Rowan County Board of Elections reported that 6,745 people had voted — meaning that more than 4,500 people voted in one day.

On the best day in 2008, 4,161 people voted, according to Rowan County Board of Elections statistics. No number in 2012 comes close to Thursday’s total.

The impressive increase in early voting came as five new sites opened. Until Thursday, only the Rowan County Board of Elections at West End Plaza was open for early voting.

In addition to the Board of Elections office, early voting sites now include: the Rowan Public Library Headquarters in Salisbury, Cleveland Town Hall, Spencer Municipal Building, Rockwell American Legion Building and Rowan Public Library South Branch.

With one exception, all sites will have the same schedule until early voting ends. On weekdays until Nov. 5, all early voting sites will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. All early voting sites be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Only the Board of Elections office at West End Plaza will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 5.

Same-day registration is allowed during early voting. It will not be allowed on election day — Nov. 8.

Of the newly opened sites, the Rowan Public Library South Branch performed best on Thursday. Poll workers reported continuously long lines. Because of the number of voters in line, the library’s south branch stayed open after the scheduled 6:30 p.m. closing time on Thursday, said Rowan County Elections Specialist Laura Russell.

A total of 1,086 people cast ballots at the Rowan Public Library South Branch, according to statistics provided Thursday evening. The Rowan Public Library Headquarters ranked second with 1,015 ballots cast. The Rockwell American Legion Building wasn’t far behind, with 988 ballots cast.

The Spencer Municipal Building and Cleveland Town Hall saw 261 and 328 ballots cast, respectively.

The number of people who have cast ballots equals 12 percent of Rowan County’s registered voters. Republicans represent the largest portion of people who have cast ballots. Rowan County will beat 2008 and 2012 turnout during early voting if it tops 36.75 percent.

A total of 4,771 registered Republicans have cast ballots during early voting. A total of 3,786 Democrats have voted. Unaffiliated voters represent 2,685 ballots cast so far. The remaining 17 ballots cast are Libertarians.

Russell said 94 same-day registrations still need to be processed, which could change the partisan turnout.

For questions about voting, contact the Rowan County Board of Elections at 704-216-8140.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.