Early voting draws more to polls

Candidates and poll workers gather outside the polling place at Sunset Avenue Church of God on Election Day 2021 in Asheboro. (L-R) Justin Lee, Asheboro City School Board candidate Hailey Trollinger Lee, Asheboro city councilman Walker Moffitt, poll worker Laura King, school board member Baxter Hammer, school board member Beth Knott and poll worker Nicki McKenzie (The North State Journal)

ASHEBORO — Early voting turnout was higher this year than in recent municipal elections on odd-numbered years in Randolph County.

The 13 days of early voting drew a total of 1,288 voters to the Randolph County Board of Elections office in Asheboro.

Here are political signs along Sunset Avenue in Asheboro on Election Day 2021 (The North State Journal)

That was in advance of Tuesday’s Election Day, when voters were required to cast ballots at their designated precincts.

In Randolph County, races were contested in Asheboro, Franklinville, Liberty, Ramseur, Randleman, Seagrove, Staley, Trinity and, for some county residents, in Thomasville.

Yet areas outside of Asheboro were likely to have most of the voting done on Election Day. Most of the early voting done in Randolph County came from Asheboro residents.

For instance, among the first 855 voters to pass through the early voting site, 85 percent of those were from what Melissa Johnson, director of the Randolph County Board of Elections, described as the four main precincts in Asheboro.

Early voting ended Saturday. Unlike some other counties, there wasn’t a primary earlier this fall in Randolph County.

The uptick in early voting for the general election was significant in the county.

In 2019, Randolph County had 256 voters in 13 days of early voting. In total, there were 1,796 ballots cast in the county for that fall election.

In 2017, there was a much larger turnout, with 863 voters in 13 days of early voting, according to data from the North Carolina State Board of Elections. In total that year, there were 3,347 voters in Randolph County.

“The best comparisons would be between municipal elections only, since the turnout is much lower and we only have one early voting site,” Johnson said.

In 2020, with the election including the presidential race and a U.S. Senate race among other contests, Randolph County had 73,462 residents cast ballots. Of those, 50,509 used the one-stop early voting.

This year across the state, there were 463 municipalities involving 91 counties with autumn elections that included almost 900 contests to determine mayors, council members, alderman and other local seats. Of those, more than 2,500 people filed to run.

By Bob Sutton

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