10/26/04 — Early voting takes off in Wayne -- 11,000 so far

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Early voting takes off in Wayne -- 11,000 so far

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on October 26, 2004 2:07 PM

Wayne County residents are going to the one-stop polling places at nearly three times the rate of North Carolinians as a whole, elections officials say.

As of this morning, nearly 11,000 county residents had voted via one-stop. That equals nearly 18 percent of eligible voters with nearly four days of one-stop voting remaining.

In comparison, around 350,000 people had voted statewide at the close of polling Monday, according to the State Board of Elections. That's equal to 6.5 percent of all registered voters.

"It's been phenomenal," Wayne County Elections Director Gary Sims said today. "I feel confident that we'll be among the top counties when this is over."

Lines have formed at the Wayne County Public Library every day before one-stop voting opens, and the waits have ranged from 10 minutes up to an hour, Sims said.

The other polling places, the Belfast and Dudley fire stations, have also been busy, although they have had times without lines at all.

Nearly 57 percent of the early voters have been Democrats, 44 percent Republicans and 10 percent unaffiliated, according to statistics provided by Sims. Nearly 75 percent of the voters have been white and 23 percent black.

The early voters have tended to be older than the general votership. Senior citizens have made up 32 percent, while people 41-65 have been another 56 percent. People 26-40 have been 16 percent and those 18-25 only 7 percent.

Women have made up 63 percent of the voters.

The library, 1001 E. Ash St., will be open today-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., while the Belfast station, 3212 U.S. 117 North, and Dudley station, 4533 U.S. 117 Alternative South, will be open today-Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

All three locations will also be open Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. That will be the last day of one-stop voting.

Anyone with questions about elections can call 731-1411 or go to www.waynegov.com/boe.