Early voting starts Thursday across North Carolina in an election headlined by one of the nation’s most-watched U.S. Senate races. Voters can cast early ballots through Nov. 1.
This year’s early voting reflects two changes that were part of the sweeping voter bill passed by the General Assembly last year. It will be a week shorter than it was two years ago and new voters can no longer register and vote the same day.
Even with the shorter voting period, lawmakers required early election hours to be the same this year as they were in 2010, the last off-year election.
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That year, 44 percent of the state’s registered voters made it to the polls. About a third of them voted before Election Day.
Requests for absentee ballots are up this year in Mecklenburg County, driven in part by the competitive race for U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s seat. Hagan, a Democrat, is seeking re-election against current N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis.
Both Republicans and Democrats have emphasized early voting in their campaigns.
Mecklenburg County will have 21 early voting sites this year, including a new one at Elon Park Recreation Center on Ardrey Kell Road in Ballantyne.
Get a map of early-voting locations in Mecklenburg County at http://bit.ly/1wkJomc