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Sunday, April 18, 2021

North Carolina voters on Tuesday will send a clear message about each party’s roots

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The in-person voting in North Carolina opened early Monday morning — after a weekend of reams of campaigning and multiple scheduling changes, which led to long lines and confusion at many polling places — and most Democrats were upbeat that voters were motivated to make their voices heard.

“I think it’s going to be a great day,” the North Carolina Democratic Party’s executive director, Tami Fitzgerald, said, after a morning canvassing in downtown Wilmington.

Fitzgerald was pleased that the voters she encountered seemed enthusiastic about both Tuesday’s Election Day runoff and Thursday’s general election. Early voting has been held in the state since February, but Monday marked the start of the in-person, or “lattice,” voting. If no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote Tuesday, a runoff between the top two will be held on Nov. 6.

Both sides have touted sky-high levels of enthusiasm and volunteers willing to work the polls.

“In early voting, we see people coming out in droves,” Brian Rogers, the North Carolina Republican Party’s executive director, said in an interview on Sunday. “We see polls showing that the Democrat side has kind of fallen off a little bit. But we’re seeing that Democrats are energized to show up and vote.”

Elections officials said they were coordinating to make sure voters had no problems and were as free to cast their ballot as possible, even in this pre-Election Day landscape. Since early voting began in February, more than 5.5 million people voted, a figure that included the earlier absentee voting by mail. Tuesday’s election is expected to draw another 1.8 million to North Carolina, or perhaps more, election officials said.

In Hillsborough County, north of Charlotte, white voters were estimated to make up about 57 percent of early voters, while black voters made up about 27 percent, according to the Harnett County Supervisor of Elections office.

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