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Laurels: Early voting slightly beats turnout from 2016

Laurel to some good news: turnout during the early voting period was up, if only slightly, from 2016.

A total of 7,239 people cast a ballot, either in person or by mail, in February. That’s compared to 7,096 people who early voted in the 2016 presidential primary.

Today, we should all hope that the county sets records for turnout. Particularly if turnout is up across voter demographics, it means that a more representative sample of our community is choosing our future leaders. It also means that a broader swath of people are weighing in on local races like state Senate, county commission and a $45 million bond referendum for Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

Because of a slowly growing population, it’s not hard to imagine that Rowan County could set a record for total number of votes cast. Democrats and unaffiliated voters likely head to the polls, in large part, to cast their ballot in the presidential primary. Many Republicans and unaffiliated will also go to vote strictly to do their part to ensure President Donald Trump wins the nomination.

To top the total number of votes cast from the previous presidential election, more than 30,492 people would need to cast ballots between early voting and Election Day.

Polls are open until 7:30 p.m. today, and any voter who’s already in line when polls close cannot be turned away.

Voters unsure of their polling location can visit the State Board of Elections website at vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup, and enter their name, birthday and county of residence to find their information.

Laurel to the life and work of Alex Clark, who used his life experiences in his lessons to youth. Clark, a Rowan County native, was laid to rest Sunday.

While his work was focused on at-risk youth, Clark touched the lives of young, old, black and white. He was never shy about charges on his criminal history and used that experience to help mentor youth he interacted with.

And while being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, slowed him down, it never stopped him. Clark continued mentoring children in Salisbury until his last breath.

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