Over 80,000 voters used last week to beat Election Day lines by participating in early voting across the county despite voting law changes that cut early voting time.
More than 8,000 of those voters used the Knightdale site, at the Knightdale Recreation Center, the Wake County Board of Elections reported.
There was concern from Democratic leaders that this year’s voter turnout would be hurt by new voting requirements, which were largely supported by Republicans in the General Assembly last year.
The law cut early voting by a week and got rid of same-day registration.
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The controversial requirement of having a photo ID doesn’t go into effect until the 2016 election, although there were signs at Knightdale’s early voting site that reminded voters a photo ID wasn’t required for this election.
Overall, Knightdale’s site saw the third-lowest number of voters, with the Wake Tech and State Board of Elections sites in Raleigh the only sites trailing behind in turnout numbers.
There were three other sites in Raleigh and one site each in Apex, Wake Forest and Cary. Cary’s site, the Herbert C. Young Community Center, saw the most voters, with a little more than 13,000.
But that was a good thing for the Knightdale site. The relatively low number of voters kept the site quick and efficient, said site supervisor Theresa Pulley.
“Convenience is the main (advantage of early voting),” she said. “You avoid the possibility of long lines, you can go to any voting site, (voters) are not tied to a precinct.”
On election days, voters have to vote at their designated locations but early voting allows more flexibility.
Pulley said the whole process went smoothly at Knightdale’s early voting site.
There was no major confusion about voting requirements or processes, she said.
She also said there weren’t any voters who had to be turned away from voting.
Wake County also offers a curbside voting option, that allows voters with disabilities or limited physical ability to cast their ballots from their vehicle in front of the voting site.
Trained volunteers handle ballots submitted curbside.
Keith Headley, a Raleigh resident who voted at Knightdale’s early voting site last week said opting to vote early meant he could make sure his vote was cast correctly and on time.
“(I came out) just to be part of the process and beat the lines,” he said.
Across the county, more than 80,000 voters came out early to vote this year, the Civitas Institute reported as part of its Carolina Transparency project that tracks voter turnout and results.
Civitas is a Raleigh-based conservative-leaning think tank.
Republican early voters were outnumbered about two to one by Democrats, Civitas reported. The average age was 55.