Raleigh trolley offers free rides to polls as early voting numbers double from 2016 election

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Lines are still snaking around Wake County early voting sites and voters are patiently social distancing for a chance to do their civic duty.

So far, 30 percent of the Wake population has already cast their ballot, whether that be by absentee or early voting. That comes out to almost a quarter of a million residents.

The number is more than double what Durham County is experiencing.

The volume of votes is far surpassing where Wake was six days into early voting four years ago during the last presidential election.

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The numbers of absentee by mail ballots is nearly quadruple 2016's grand total. Early voting has more than doubled.

As votes keep streaming in, there's an effort to help people get to the polls.

The Great Raleigh Trolley is ditching tours and will now take runs to early voting sites for people facing transportation issues.

The Raleigh/Apex Chapter of the NAACP is partnering with the small business to offer this option.

There are pick-ups at numerous locations, including the Capitol Building or St. Aug's and Shaw universities.

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There are no longer any early voting sites directly in downtown Raleigh.

The Wake County Board of Elections has relocated from Salisbury Street and Chavis Park is undergoing renovations.

Despite increase in early voting locations, access remains difficult for some

Raleigh/Apex NAACP President Gerald Givens Jr. said the changes are a detriment.

"It's a little bit more challenging. The polling location now is about four miles away from downtown pretty much and so this (the trolleys) eases that pain just a little bit more," he said.

Unlike public transportation, these rides are free.

Owner Zack Medford owner said the shuttles are being put to better use.

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"The Great Raleigh Trolley has been on the sidelines a lot more than we intended, but we're really excited to be able to bring voters to the polls for this election for early voting," said Medford.

The trolleys runs from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. through Oct. 30.

TRACK WAIT TIMES: Track early voting wait times at Wake, Durham County polls
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