NC: Most Voters Cast Ballots Before Noon
By Pamela Constable
After a morning of unusually long lines and waits at many polling places, election officials in North Carolina reported that by mid-afternoon, voters were breezing in and out of the booths within five minutes in Charlotte and the surrounding region. In one precinct, at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, officials said two thirds of 1,501 registered voters had cast a ballot by noon.
Officials said the smooth and increasingly quick voting process was partly due to the state's decision to allow early voting, a policy that was followed in 31 states including Virginia. According to the Charlotte Observer, more than 2.5 million North Carolina voters cast ballots before today. There has been heightened interest in the elections because North Carolina will choose a new governor and because the incumbent senator, Republican Elizabeth Dole, is facing a stiff challenge from Democrat Kay Hagan.
According to the newspaper, 52 percent of the early voters in North Carolina were registered Democrats, and 26 per cent were black voters, who as a group heavily favor Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) Obama has blanketed the tightly contested state with volunteers and advertisements. However, experts said they expected Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) to garner more of the votes cast in the state today.
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