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First Day Of Early Voting Brings Long Lines To Charlotte

Sarah Delia WFAE

The first day of early voting in North Carolina kicked off with long lines in Charlotte and an appearance from Hillary Clinton’s running mate Senator Tim Kaine. WFAE’s Sarah Delia has more.

Hillary Clinton supporters gathered at Heist Brewery in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood, to see her running mate, Senator Tim Kaine. Hardin Minor played his harmonica to kill some time—an instrument he points Kaine also plays.

About two hours later Kaine reiterated campaign issues he and Clinton have been hammering home: equal pay for women, building a stronger economy, and gave a quick jab at Donald Trump.

Clinton, Trump and their running mates have become regulars in North Carolina. But one thing was different about this visit to Charlotte, Thursday marked the first day of early voting.

A long line hugged the side of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg library in the University area. It’s one of 10 early voting locations.

70-year-old Doris Pearson just finished casting her ballot. She said she’s voted in every election over the last 52 years. She waited in line for about three hours, which didn’t seem to bother her one bit.

Pamela Kennerly stuck out the long lines as well and said she met some people who helped pass the 2 hour and 45 minute wait. 

The long wait kept some away. Richmond Baker had to return a second time Thursday afternoon. He sighed and said the line looked even longer than it did when he came in the morning.

The line was also too long for Zerrick and Fati Bynum. But Fati said it was important to try.

"Vote, it’s a right! I come from West Africa where it’s not always been a given so since I became a U.S. citizen, that’s something I want to exercise at all costs," she said. 

She said since she became a U.S. citizen in 2007 she’s voted and voted early. She says they’ll be back on Sunday to try again.

Sarah Delia is a Senior Producer for Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Sarah joined the WFAE news team in 2014. An Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist, Sarah has lived and told stories from Maine, New York, Indiana, Alabama, Virginia and North Carolina. Sarah received her B.A. in English and Art history from James Madison University, where she began her broadcast career at college radio station WXJM. Sarah has interned and worked at NPR in Washington DC, interned and freelanced for WNYC, and attended the Salt Institute for Radio Documentary Studies.