Millions of NC voters get more chances than ever to vote early

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Much like absentee voting in this election, early voting will also make history in North Carolina.

"So many hours, so many opportunities," Gary Sims, Wake County elections director, said. "We feel like we're going overboard and we're doing that on purpose."

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Seventeen straight days of early voting begins Thursday, October 15, across North Carolina, with uniform hours--including on weekends--yhe law of the land across all 100 counties. In the Tar Heel State's eight largest counties--home to about half the state's population--there are an extra 7,000 hours of early voting this year compared to previous election years:

  • Wake County will have 550 more hours for early voting.
  • Durham County will have 1,038 more hours and 1 additional site.
  • Cumberland County will have 944 more hours and 1 additional site.
  • Mecklenburg County will have 1508 more hours and 10 additional sites.
  • Guilford County will have 1,288 more hours for early voting.
  • Forsyth County will have 944 more hours for early voting.
  • Buncombe County will have 436 more hours and 5 additional sites.

Throughout the state, most of the early voting sites are in larger spaces to accommodate health guidelines and regulations in the COVID-19 pandemic. All poll workers will have access to a variety of personal protective equipment, while voters must wear masks inside and will be given one if they don't have one.

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According to Sims, all voter booths will be disinfected between each use, while all voters will get their own pen.

"Just every single thing you can do we want to make sure it's somewhere where people can come in to vote safely," he said. "I'm asking everyone for patience to work with officials. They're your friends, your neighbors, your retired school teacher. They're working a lot to make this happen."

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