More than 50,000 Orange County residents voted early during the last presidential election in 2012. Overall voter turnout in Orange County was almost 70 percent.
Early voting is from Thursday through Nov. 5 and allows registered voters to vote at any of the five locations around Orange County, instead of at a designated voting precinct. Same-day registration is also available during early voting, although not on election day — Nov. 8 — itself.
Kaylor Robinson, the voter outreach coordinator for Orange County Board of Elections, said registrations at UNC’s campus have been coming in by the thousands over the past two months.
“We’ve definitely gotten more voter registrations than we did last time,” she said, referring to the 2012 presidential election.
The UNC chapter of the North Carolina Public Interest Research Group was established on campus in the 2015-16 school year as an organization to foster civic engagement and student advocacy.
Taylor Moss, campus organizer for NCPIRG at UNC, said NCPIRG has done a lot to encourage participation in early voting and Election Day. She said she has been pleased with how active students have been in participating and asking earnest questions.
“There’s a lot of rhetoric about young people that we don’t care and that we’re apathetic or apolitical, but we know from being on campus that that’s not true, that the large majority of students here care about a lot of different issues and want to see them get better,” Moss said. “We know what’s at stake and we want our voices to be heard.”
Moss said voting is one of the most important things people can do.
“Whichever way you feel about the candidates that are running for an office here, or whichever way you feel about an issue that is most important to you, the simplest thing you can do is cast your vote,” Moss said.
UNC Young Democrats and UNC College Republicans have also encouraged students to vote in the upcoming elections.
Dominic Moore, campaign director for the College Republicans, said they are not urging students to vote one way or another for the presidential candidate.
“We’re encouraging students to vote for Republican candidates down the ballot, but we will not be voting on whether or not to endorse the presidential nominee,” Moore said.
Courtney Sams, president of Young Democrats, said they are definitely encouraging students to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Kendall Harden, an out-of-state junior, said the early voting information around campus has been helpful. She said voting will be interesting this year with the amount of controversy that has surrounded the election.
“I feel like it’s especially important to go out and vote in this one because there are so many issues on the table,” she said. “People have to care.”