Early voting turnout in Orange County is skyrocketing as the country approaches Election Day.
In the 2014 Orange County general election, voters cast 23,194 early ballots in the nine-day early voting period. As of Wednesday, early voting totals in Orange County came in at 32,630 ballots.
“The turnout has been greater than what I anticipated,” said Rachel Raper, director of elections in Orange County. “But not (greater) than what I prepared for, because we prepare for a 100 percent turnout.”
She said the numbers are growing because of the long early voting hours and numerous sites.
“There’s really a huge opportunity for people to just go vote early,” Raper said.
An early voting period is often more convenient than a single election day because it allows those who live in Orange County to pick a time that works best for them to vote.
“It fit better in my schedule, honestly,” said UNC junior Maaya Dev, who voted at Chapel of the Cross. “I just wanted to make sure that I could. I feel a moral obligation to vote, or I feel that it’s important for everyone to go out if they have an opinion on it.”
The increase in voters has been attributed to the current polarized political climate.
“I think the political environment is tense right now and that drives people to the polls,” Raper said.