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NC Early Voting Eclipses 2014 totals, With 5 Days Left

North Carolinians have been enthusiastic about voting early this year, already eclipsing the number of people who voted early in 2014.

With five days remaining in early voting, 1.225 million North Carolinians have voted early as of Monday afternoon -- more than the 1.17 million who voted early during the 2014 midterm election.

Four years ago, the final statewide voter turnout was 44 percent. As of Monday afternoon, 17.3 percent of registered voters had already cast ballots in 2018, according to the North Carolina Board of Elections and Ethics.

Democracy NC, a group that aims to improve turnout in elections, has analyzed early voting totals by political party, gender, and race and ethnicity.

As of Sunday, the group found that 3.4 percent more white voters (802,916) had cast votes compared with the entirety of early voting in 2014 (776,581). White voters under 26 accounted for much of that surge, casting 40 percent more ballots this year (31,820) than in all of 2018 (22,781).

Black voters were running a little behind. This year, black voters had cast 228,157 votes, compared with 283,264 during all of the 2014 election.

Here is the breakdown by political party:

Democratic voters have cast the most votes, with 472,019. They are running at 89 percent of their total from 2014.

Republican voters have cast 332,527 ballots so far, which is 97 percent of their 2014 totals.

Unaffiliated voters have surged. This year, 292,246 unaffiliated voters have cast ballots, which is 23 percent.

With several days of in-person early voting remaining, ballots cast so far in the 2018 general election already have exceeded all ballots cast early during the 2014 midterm election.

As of 3:30 p.m. Monday, 1,225,892 North Carolinians had voted early this election, up 4.4 percent from 1,174,184 in 2014. The 2014 number was surpassed with six days remaining in this year’s in-person early voting period, which ends Saturday (November 3). Also, by-mail absentee ballots are still being accepted by county boards of elections across the state.

However, with more than 7 million registered voters in North Carolina, nearly 6 million people still have not cast ballots in this important election season.

“We hope millions of voters who have not yet made their voices heard will do so, either during early voting or on Election Day,” said Kim Westbrook Strach, executive director of the State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement.

In the 2014 midterms, final statewide voter turnout was 44 percent, or more than 2.9 million votes. Through 3:30 p.m. Monday, 17.3 percent of registered voters had cast ballots in 2018.

Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.