Some Triangle voters found themselves waiting in line briefly this morning as they went to the polls to decide a number of local and state-wide elections, including a key U.S. Senate race.
The line to receive a ballot at 7:15 a.m. was 10 deep with a 5 to 10 minute wait at Good Shepherd United Church of Christ in Cary. Voters were told they could vote at tables since the voting booths were all in use. The line stayed steady for at least 45 minutes. About 120 people had cast ballots by 7:35 a.m.
The line was also about 10 people deep just before 7 a.m. at Cleveland Elementary School in Clayton, with all of the 15 voting stations inside the precinct full. By 7:15 the line had cleared.
By 9:45 a.m. at the Parkwood Fire Department polling station in South Durham more than 780 residents had cast their votes. The check-in line was roughly 10 people deep and nearly every voting booth was occupied. Election workers said it was above normal turnout for a midterm election.
This is significant because Durham lacked much in the way of contested local elections. It's heavily Democratic, which means many contests are decided in the primary, and there were no city council or county commission races to be decided. The district attorney, county clerk and sheriff all ran unopposed, as did state Rep. Paul Luebke.
At Central Baptist Church outside Wendell, about 800 people had voted by noon Tuesday, with a steady 10-minute wait for the polling stations as midday approached.
With a photo ID requirement set to take effect in 2016, volunteers with the nonprofit Democracy North Carolina were stationed outside asking voters to take a short survey about their experience.
The nonprofit asked if election officials had been reminding voters about the new requirement in 2016. The survey also asked voters if they think the change will make the process more secure.
About 1.2 million of the state’s 6.6 million registered voters had voted by the close of early voting Saturday.
The North Carolina race getting the most national attention is the battle for one of state’s two U.S. Senate seats between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis.
The two campaigns and outside groups have spent more than $100 million on advertising in the lead-up to election day, and the outcome has the potential to determine which party holds control of the Senate for the next two years.
Voters will also have the opportunity to choose from 19 candidates who are running for one of four N.C. Court of Appeals seats.
Staff writers John Hansen, Colin Campbell, Dan Kane and D. Clay Best contributed.