The first three days of early voting saw nearly a 43 percent increase in the number of ballots cast over the same time period in the last presidential election.
In the first three days of voting this year, 14,104 ballots were cast across five polling locations. This can be compared to the 9,882 ballots cast across five polling stations in 2012 and the 8,335 ballots cast in the same number of locations and amount of time in 2008. Two polling stations were closed on the third day in 2008.
Director of the Board of Elections of Orange County Tracy Reams believes the increase is due to voters taking advantage of the convenience offered by early voting and being motivated to get out and vote early.
“Well, I think it may just be all of the political advertisements that people are seeing and that is giving them the idea to go ahead and get out and cast their vote,” she said.
Reams also said that early voting should continue at the record pace for most of the early voting period.
“I really think that we are going to continue to see an increase,” Reams said.
“Normally we’ll get that peak there at the beginning and then have a little bit of a lull. Then normally it will peak up at the end of it again. So I don’t think that we’ve seen our biggest peak yet.”
People steadily arrived at Chapel of the Cross Tuesday afternoon to cast their early votes.
Loretta Mount, a Chapel Hill resident, voted early for the first time Tuesday because she felt this election had special significance.
“In case I get hit by a bus, this one is really important,” Mount said. “This is the first time I’ve ever been frightened about who might be our president.”
UNC junior Travis Ritenour felt that most people had already made up their minds and that there wasn’t much left to say about the candidates.
“I just wanted to go ahead and do it. I see no reason to wait until Nov. 8. It’ll probably be more crowded,” he said.
Marissa Varnadore, a UNC junior, voted early because it was more convenient than voting on election day. Varnadore said she believes that more people are voting early due to the unique qualities of the election.
“I think that this election is just a little more troubling for people and people are a lot more opinionated this time around,” she said.
“Especially because the two candidates are so vastly different. I mean usually Republican and Democratic candidates are different, but this time seems to be a little more extreme between the two, especially with the Republican candidate.”
UNC junior Zoë Rose Clarke voted early because she didn’t want to run out of time or have something come up on election day that would prevent her from getting to the polls.
However, Rose took time to reflect on her vote and its historic significance.
“I feel really great right now,” she said. “Voting for our first female president, that was really exciting and felt good.”