The wait to vote, amid debates and campaign ads has nearly come to an end, as early voting in Wake County and Johnston County will start as early as Thursday.
The options of where to early vote has expanded in recent months. The North Carolina State Board of Elections voted last month to expand the number of early voting sites during the first week of early voting. That means, Garner residents can vote in their own town as early as Thursday at the Avery Street Recreation Center.
They can also vote at eight other sites in Wake County if they choose.
Wake’s additional first-week voting sites will now include Apex Community Center, Chavis Community Center in Southeast Raleigh, Herb Young Community Center in Cary, Northern Regional Center in Wake Forest, Lake Lynn Community Center in Raleigh, Hunt Recreation Center in Holly Springs and Eastern Regional Center in Zebulon.
The state’s ruling on Wake also maintains the 20 sites the county had planned to open between Oct. 27 and Nov. 5.
Gary Sims, executive director of the Wake County Board of Elections, said there are more early voting sites and hours than there have ever been in Wake County’s history.
Sims said Wake County is approaching 700,000 eligible voters, and historically 75 percent of those actually vote in presidential election years.
“That’s definitely going to push us past half a million,” Sims said.
Voter turnouts during presidential elections always tend to be much higher than elections where there is not a president on the ballot.
“It just draws the attention where maybe people don’t always see some of the smaller races, such as municipal election years, they just don’t see the importance of those,” Sims said. “I think every single election is important. But voters have the right not to vote just as the have the right to vote.”
For Cleveland residents in Johnston County, their early voting site will open at Johnston Community College’s Cleveland Campus starting Oct. 28.
Over the summer, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down North Carolina’s voter ID law, which ended same-day registration and shortened the state’s early-voting period to 10 days.
Want to vote early?
Here are the early voting sites and hours in our coverage area:
Early voting is from Oct. 20 - Nov. 5.
Avery Street Recreation Center – Monday - Friday’s early voting is open 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., Saturday’s open 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m., Sunday’s open 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
For other early voting sites in Wake County and their hours, go to www.wakegov.com/elections.
Early voting is Oct. 28-29 and Oct. 31- Nov. 5.
Johnston Community College Cleveland Campus, 9046 Cleveland Road, Clayton —Oct. 28: 10 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.; Oct. 29: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.; Oct. 31-Nov. 4: 10 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.; Nov. 5.: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.