We can vote in person today.
From the sea to the mountains in North Carolina, and from Cornelius Town Hall in north Mecklenburg to Ardrey Kell High School in south Mecklenburg, today’s the first day of early voting. Today’s the start of the election season for the six million or so registered North Carolina voters who didn’t fill out a mail-in ballot request form, the day when you can get up, find a polling station, and have a say. For president. For Senate. For state house. For judges. For commissioners. For soil and water.
Four years ago, when I took my ailing father to an early voting station along the North Carolina coast to vote in his 14th and final presidential election, he looked down the ballot at a local race and chose his pharmacist. Why? “He’ll keep me alive a little longer,” my dad said.
We all have reasons for liking who we like.
More than 500,000 North Carolinians have already voted by mail, more than 66,000 of them here in Mecklenburg County. The pandemic has changed how we do everything, has changed the lengths of days and weeks in our minds.
In many respects, today when the polls open, it’ll be like sunrise on one very long Election Day, one that stretches from here until November 3. The county has 33 sites open every day for the next 17 days, then takes two days off, then comes back with the Election Day sunset. And maybe then we can get back to our lives. Maybe.
[Related story: Full Agenda voter guide]
Here are all 33 polling places in Mecklenburg County, listed and mapped:
1 — Cornelius Town Hall
2 — Hough High School
3 — North County Library
4 — North Mecklenburg High School
5 — Butler High School
6 — Matthews Elementary School
7 — Spectrum Center
8 — Bank of America Stadium
9 — Garinger High School
10 — Bojangles Entertainment Complex
11 — Bette Rae Thomas Rec Center
12 — West Boulevard Library
13 — Renaissance West STEAM Academy
14 — Myers Park High School
15 — Queens Sports Complex at Marion Diehl Park
16 — South Mecklenburg High School
17 — Former Wells Fargo Southpark Area
18 — East Mecklenburg High School
19 — Mountain Island Lake Library
20 — Hickory Grove Elementary School
21 — Allegra Westbrooks/Beatties Ford Library
22 — West Charlotte High School
23 — Hornet’s Nest Park
24 — Carmel Commons Shopping Center
25 — Independence High School
26 — UNCC Belk Gymnasium
27 — Old Pier One University Area
28 — Mallard Creek High School
29 — Providence High School
30 — Southwest Middle School
31 — Olympic High School
32 — Community House Middle School
33 — Ardrey Kell High School
Hours: Early voting sites are open every day between now and October 31.
Weekdays — from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays — 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sundays — 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Off days — November 1 and 2, the last two days before the November 3 Election Day.
Precautions: All early voting locations will enforce social distancing in line, provide sanitizer and gloves, provide single-use pens, and have barriers between election workers and voters at check-in tables. All the state board of elections safeguards are listed here.
What if you’re not registered: Good news. You can register same-day at any early-voting location in your county of residence. You cannot, however, vote on November 3; you must be registered to do that.
What’s happened so far
Who’s already voted: As of Wednesday, 505,946 North Carolinians have had their mail-in ballots accepted and processed, according to the Civitas Institute’s vote tracker. More than half of them (257,766) are Democrats, while less than one-fifth (90,445) are Republicans. Nearly 156,000 are unaffiliated.
The bulk of mail-in votes have come from people ages 55 to 80, with 73-year-olds casting more ballots (14,877) than any other age.
In Mecklenburg County, 66,415 people voted by mail, as of October 13. By comparison, Mecklenburg County mailed in about 26,000 total ballots in 2016.
Where the local votes are coming in from: The edges of the county.
When you mail in a ballot, you’re still counted among your home precinct totals.
The top 10 precincts to vote so far are all outside of Charlotte — the booming area of Steele Creek has the most votes in, but Ballantyne and Highland Creek and Cornelius are all right up there. It isn’t until you get to the 11th spot that you find precinct No. 11, which is the Third and Fourth Wards.
This is intriguing, because it’s widely believed that the last true battlegrounds in our battleground state are the suburbs. And it looks like there’s enthusiasm there.
Here’s the list, with precinct numbers and a map of precincts below that:
Latest news updates
- Presidential polls: In the most recent polls that FiveThirtyEight gives A-plus grades for trustworthiness, Joe Biden leads Donald Trump in North Carolina. The Sienna College/NYT poll released Wednesday showed Biden with a 46-42 edge, and Monmouth University poll released Tuesday showed Biden up 49-48.
- Cal Cunningham’s sexting scandal cost him a big polling edge against Thom Tillis in the Senate race. He was up nearly 10 points in a CBS poll two weeks ago. Now his lead is down to between 1-4 points, depending on the poll.
- “Mecklenburg and Wake will determine the outcome of the presidential election,” state senator Jeff Jackson told Politico.