The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday May 9th

Early voting in NC midterm election tops 1.1 million

More than 1.1 million voters went to the polls between Oct. 23 and Nov. 1, according to data compiled by the United States Elections Project. It was a 34.7 percent increase from 2010, when about 858,000 people voted early.

A provision in the state’s 2013 voting law reduced the early voting period to 10 days, compared with 17 days in past presidential and midterm elections — though the total hours of early voting offered remained the same.

Tony Liu, vice president of UNC Young Democrats, said the group focused on getting students to vote early because N.C. Hillel, the closest early voting site to campus, was easy to access.

“We’re in the Pit bothering people, but there are results from bothering people,” he said.

Today, students who live on campus and are registered in Orange County will have to vote at their specific precinct. There are five different precincts for voters registered at addresses on campus.

Liu said members of Young Democrats will be on North and South Campus giving information about which precinct to students who have not yet voted should go to.

Of all early voters in North Carolina, 47.6 percent were Democrats, 31.9 percent were Republicans, 0.2 percent were Libertarians and 20.3 percent were unaffiliated. African-American voters, who have historically been heavy users of early voting, represented a quarter of all early voters.

About 6.6 million voters are registered in the state. In the 2010 midterm election, about 44 percent of registered voters turned out.

And as vote totals flow in at polling sites statewide today and people watch in anticipation for results, a Raleigh-based firm hopes to speed up the reporting of candidate tallies with a new mobile application.

Headway Workforce Solutions will be working with public affairs firm Ipsos on “Report the Vote,” a program that records exit polls. The firms have hired about 4,500 election agents, who will use an Ipsos-designed app to record vote counts. They claim the process will allow information to be reported in “virtually real time.”

“One of the most unique aspects to this project is that within minutes of polls closing, tallies will be reported for national and local news outlet distribution,” said Headway president and CEO JP Sakey.

Jay DeLancy, executive director at the N.C. Voter Integrity Project, said in an email that the app could reduce the chances of ballot manipulation if the precinct totals can be publicized before the ballots are taken outside to each headquarters.

People have tried to “steal” elections in the past by changing paper ballots, he said.

“Typically, this illegal practice involves waiting until after the polls close and for partisans to change the ballots while they’re being transported from the precinct to the county election headquarters,” he said.

state@dailytarheel.com



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