More than 5,300 residents have participated in early voting, and more can be expected with the addition of another day to vote early.
The Lee County Board of Elections decided Wednesday to open the polls for early and one-stop voting this Saturday, giving residents an additional choice of when to vote before Election Day, Nov. 6.
A memo from the N.C. State Board of Elections advises all 100 local election boards to "take immediate steps to alleviate any delays and facilitate a more efficient voting process," according to the Lee County Board of Elections' resolution.
"We've seen the numbers, and people have called about coming in on Saturday," County Board of Elections Director Nancy Kimble said. "We have people who live here, but work in Raleigh or Fayetteville, and can't vote during the week."
The Lee County Board of Elections voted unanimously to open early voting this Saturday, Kimble said.
Early voting is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, this week and the next, and both Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
With more than 5,300 votes cast, voter participation is at 15.67 percent. Voter turnout was 72.95 percent during 2008 presidential election.
In the last presidential election, 23,957 votes were cast -- with more than 15,000 residents participating in early voting.
"It will save on the lines come Election Day," Kimble said.
The more people who vote earlier, the less of a wait people will experience on Nov. 6, she said.
Reggie Miller, who voted Wednesday, said, "I wanted
See early/page A7
to come out and vote before it got crowded, but it has already started to get crowded."
Tonya Petty said she typically votes on Election Day, but it was convenient for her to stop by and not worry about bad weather.
Eileen Tilton said, "I like voting early better. There is a not a crowd and the weather is better."
Lee County Democratic Party Volunteer Coordinator Fredrika Cooke said the headquarters has been filled with volunteers, but the party is constantly seeking more.
"(Early voting) is efficient, and it's insurance that my vote is in," Cooke said. "You never know what may happen between November and now, and this way, you can be confident your vote has been cast."
The headquarters volunteers are excited about the extra Saturday for residents to vote early, she said.
Former Lee County Republican Chairman Linda Shook said there are more volunteers at the GOP headquarters than ever before, looking for ways to help and get involved.
"This is just my opinion, but there is a lot of potential for fraud when you have voting two and half weeks out, when at the very minimum all we need is one week of early voting," said Shook, who is chairman of the Lee County Board of Commissioners.
Kimble said the board has not seen any sign of fraud. Sometimes a person who lives at the county line of Lee and Harnett may try to vote in Lee County because it's closer than driving to Lillington, she said, but they are sent to the right place.
Sample ballots are available online at the Lee County Board of Elections website, along with information concerning polling sites and times for Election Day. All 10 precincts will be open on Election Day.
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