Roughly 5,500 votes cast in Dare County thus far
With several days to go before early voting ends in Dare County, slightly more than 5,500 votes have already been cast, a pace running ahead of the general election cycle in 2014, and one that validates the idea that there is relatively high voter interest in this midterm cycle.
According to Dare Board of Elections Director Michele Barnes, the 5,524 votes cast (not including absentee ballots) represented Dare County’s early voting tally through Monday, Oct. 29. Early voting still continues at the county’s three sites — the Dare County Administration building in Manteo, Kill Devil Hills Town Hall and the Fessenden Center Annex in Buxton — through Saturday, Nov. 3.
In 2014, the last even-year election that did not include a presidential race, a total of 13,043 people cast their ballots for an overall turnout of 47 percent of the county’s registered voters. Of those, a little over 4,800 cast their ballots early — meaning slightly more than one-third of those who voted did so before Election Day.
An Oct. 29 release from the N.C. State Board of Elections noted that early voting this year, with several days still left, was already up 4.4 percent over that total from 2014.
And unlike this year, Dare County voters in 2014 had a high-profile U.S. Senate race — between Democrat Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis — at the top of that ballot, as well as a contested U.S. House race between Republican Walter Jones and Democrat Marshall Adame.
This year, the only federal race on the ballot is the U.S. District 3 House election in which Jones is running unopposed. One potential voter draw on this year’s ballot may be the six proposed amendments to the North Carolina Constitution that have generated significant controversy and sparked significant media attention.
In November 2016, when turnout was spurred by the presidential contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, 19,725 votes were tallied in Dare County, accounting for 67% of the registered voters in the county. In that election, about 10,700 of those votes were cast early, meaning the majority of those who voted took advantage of the early voting opportunities.
An examination of early voting results in the last few election cycles in Dare County shows that in those cases, Democratic candidates who lost among county voters did do better among early voters than with those who cast their ballots on Election Day.