Duke Site Helps Boost Durham County’s Early Voting Numbers

By Geoffrey Mock

Duke University’s on-campus early voting site ended the voting period with the largest number of voters of any of Durham’s secondary early voting sites.

Early voting concluded at 1 p.m. Saturday with 8,366 voters at the Duke site. That’s slightly less than the 9,174 who voted on campus in 2012, but nearly twice as many as any of the eight Durham sites that were open for 10 days. In 2012, the Duke early voting site was open for 17 days, rather than the 10 this year.

Five sites, including the major county libraries and the Board of Elections downtown were open for longer periods, and elections officials said heavy use of these sites during the first week may have lowered totals at the eight sites that were only open for 10 days.

Totals for all the early voting sites can be found here.

During the early voting period, a collection of students, staff and faculty worked to advertise the site and promote early voting.

“Every election is important, but this one has truly significant consequences for our state and country,” said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations.  “That the Duke early voting site recorded almost twice as many votes as any other early site that opened at the same time is a sign of our community’s engagement in this year’s campaigns.”

Overall in Durham County, 119,600 voters cast ballots early, easily surpassing the 2012 total of a little more than 102,000 early voters. The most active site was the Durham County Southern Regional Library, which had just under 22.000 voters.

This was the first election in which the Devil’s Den on Central Campus was used as the early voting site on campus.  Traditionally West Union Building on West Campus had been used, but following the building’s renovation, there were no adequate space in the building or nearby parking to accommodate the need.

During the primary election, the Freeman Center for Jewish Life was used, but elections officials approved the Devil’s Den location because it had nearby parking and could accommodate more people than the Freeman Center. During early voting, special buses ran from West Campus to take voters to the site.

The Duke site opened with 927 voters on Oct. 27, the first day of voting at the site. It’s largest daily total was Friday, Nov. 4, when 1,377 people voted. Voting concluded on Saturday, when 842 people voted in just 4 hours before the polls closed at 1 p.m.

There is of course still time to vote on the traditional Election Day Tuesday. To find out if you are registered and eligible to vote or to find your Election Day polling site, go to the Public Voter site on the Durham County Board of Elections.

North Carolina polling locations are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on all scheduled voting days. For further information concerning North Carolina’s election laws, poll locations, and voter registration, please contact the State Board of Elections at (919) 733-7173 or refer to their web site.

Reprinted from Duke Today

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