2020 early voting mirrors 2016 presidential primary

Published 12:10 am Sunday, March 1, 2020

By Natalie Anderson and Liz Moomey

SALISBURY — This year’s turnout for early voting in the 2020 primary election looks a lot like the early voting primary turnout from the March 2016 election.

A total of 7,239 people, or 7.9% of registered voters in Rowan County, voted early in the 2020 primary election. That’s compared to 7,096 people who cast a ballot, or 7.8%, in the 2016 presidential primary. Rowan County had the opportunity to cast a ballot for 14 days during the early voting period, including two Saturdays, at three different locations. The early voting period began on Feb. 13 and ended on Feb. 29. 

The largest turnout days were Thursday through Saturday last week. The turnout was 757 for Thursday; 1,106 for Friday; and 1,078 for Saturday

Brenda McCubbins, Rowan County elections director, said the voting “started off a little slow,” but ultimately, “everything went well.”

Elections with a presidential race on the ballot typically produce a higher turnout than midterm years, and this year’s primary was no exception. In the 2018 primary, 3,104 people voted, or 3.3%.

On Saturday, the last day of early voting, at the Rowan County Board of Elections Office, both young and old agreed voting was a responsibility that needed to be done.

Jade Houston, 18, was among those voting Saturday, but she stood out among the crowd because she cast a ballot for the first time. Houston said she’s learned more about voting from her civics course at Jesse C. Carson High School and that she looks to social media to keep up with politics. From her own research, she said, she initially registered unaffiliated before changing to Republican.

And while this election cycle wasn’t 19-year-old Olivia Cunningham’s first, it is her first presidential election. Cunningham said she is a registered Democrat who supports Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders because she appreciates his stance on healthcare, education and his success in the polls.

Cunningham added that she was also influenced by Sanders after hearing him speak in person at a climate strike that she stumbled across with her friend in Greensboro in September.

For others, this year isn’t their first presidential rodeo.

Sheila Arnold, who is 54 and has been voting since 18, said supported former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination because of her past support for former President Barack Obama. Arnold’s preference for Biden is due to his support for the Affordable Care Act, which provided her with health insurance that she previously did not have. She added that it’s “important for our people to get healthcare.”

Others, however, feel that President Donald Trump is doing a “good job since he’s been in office,” said Mark and Dollie Scott. Both Mark, 61, and Dollie, 62, said they voted “no” on the $45 million bond referendum for Rowan-Cabarrus Community College because of the potential tax increase that could be needed to pay for it.

They added that voting is something that “has to be done” and reminded others to “do their little part” in having their voices heard.

During early voting Saturday, one woman named Elizabeth, who wished not to disclose her last name, said she ran into an issue with her absentee ballot after seeing incorrect information posted by the county on its website regarding the method of submitting absentee ballots. But she said the problem was resolved when she brought it to the board’s attention, adding that they were “really nice.” For a time, the county had a sentence on its website that said emailed and faxed ballots were allowed; they were not.

McCubbins said the information on the ballot was correct, and there are no incomplete absentee ballots that have been submitted. She added that there was only one inquiry about emailed or faxed ballots.

Election day is Tuesday. Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Rowan County polling places are:

  • Barnhardt Mill: West Park Baptist Church: 715 West Park Drive, Rockwell
  • Blackwelder Park: Blackwelder Park Baptist Church, 2204 Summit Ave., Kannapolis
  • Bostian Crossroads: Bostian Heights. Fire Dept., 8211 Old Concord Road, Salisbury
  • Bradshaw: Atwell Fire Dept., 5900 N.C. 152 West, China Grove
  • China Grove: China Grove Community Building, 412 S. Myrtle Ave., China Grove
  • Cleveland: Cleveland Town Hall, 302 E. Main St., Cleveland
  • South Locke: Locke Township Fire Department, 5405 Mooresville Road, Salisbury
  • East Enochville: Enochville Fire Department, 808 N. Enochville Ave., China Grove
  • Faith: Faith American Legion Building, 1015 Gantt St., Faith
  • Franklin: Shoaf’s Wagon Wheel, 6430 Hwy. 601, Salisbury
  • Milford Hills County: West Rowan Middle School, 5925 Statesville Blvd, Salisbury
  • Rock Grove: Rock Grove United Methodist Church, 1050 Rock Grove Church Road, Salisbury
  • Granite Quarry: Granite Quarry Municipal Building, 143 N. Salisbury Ave, Granite Quarry
  • Hatters Shop: Union Fire Dept., 1470 Union Church Road, Salisbury
  • West Kannapolis: St. Johns Reformed Church, 901 N. Main St., Kannapolis
  • East Kannapolis: Jackson Park Elem. School, 1400 Jackson St., Kannapolis
  • East Spencer: East Spencer Municipal Building, 105 S. Long St., East Spencer
  • Landis: Rowan Public Library – South Branch, 920 Kimball Road, China Grove
  • North Locke: Salem Lutheran Church, 5080 Sherrills Ford Road, Salisbury
  • Morgan I: Pooletown Fire Dept, 255 Richfield Road, Richfield
  • Morgan II: West Liberty Fire Department, 135 St. Matthews Church Road, Salisbury
  • Mt. Ulla: Mt. Ulla Station — West Rowan Fire Dept., 781 Grampian Road, Mt. Ulla
  • Rockwell: Rockwell American Legion Building, 8580 U.S. 52, Rockwell
  • Gold Knob: East Rowan High School, 175 St. Lukes Church Road, Salisbury
  • Scotch Irish: Scotch Irish Fire Dept., 3220 Needmore Road, Woodleaf
  • Spencer: Spencer Municipal Building, 600 S. Salisbury Ave., Spencer
  • Steele West: Rowan High School 8050 N.C. 801, Mt. Ulla
  • Sumner Rowan County Agriculture Building, 2727 Old Concord Road, Salisbury
  • Trading Ford: Miller Ferry Fire Dept., 2650 Long Ferry Road, Salisbury
  • Unity: Woodleaf Fire Department, 3500 N.C. 801
  • Bostian School: Bostian Elementary School: 4245 Old Beatty Ford Road, China Grove
  • West Ward II: Maupin Avenue Presbyterian Church, 100 Maupin Ave., Salisbury
  • West Ward I: Rowan Public Library: 201 West Fisher St., Salisbury
  • South Ward: Salisbury Civic Center, 315 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Salisbury
  • East Ward: Park Avenue Community Center, 632 Park Ave., Salisbury
  • West Innes: Knox Middle School, 1625 Park Road W., Salisbury
  • North Ward: City Park Recreation Building, 316 Lake Drive, Salisbury
  • Milford Hills City: Isenberg Elementary School, 2800 Jake Alexander Blvd., Salisbury
  • West Ward III: Miller Recreation Center, 1402 W. Bank St., Salisbury
  • West Enochville: Enochville Elementary School, 925 N. Enochville Ave., China Grove
  • Ellis: Ellis Park, 3541 Old Mocksville Road, Salisbury