Early voting ends in N.C.; turnout higher than 2008

by: Tina Terry Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Early voting ended Saturday in North Carolina. 

Records early Saturday night showed nearly 250,000 people voted early in Mecklenburg County, which far exceeds the numbers in 2008.  Officials in Mecklenburg County said they expected the turnout to be about 25 percent higher than the last presidential election.

"These numbers here are really good showing that we have a lot of interest in this early voting process," said Michael Dickerson, director of Mecklenburg County's Board of Elections. 

Officials said both Democratic and Republican volunteers were responsible for that interest. An early voter told Eyewitness News that one of those enthusiastic volunteers on her college campus encouraged her to come out and vote Saturday.

"I think that's what made the numbers boom, especially for me because I wouldn't be registered if I didn't go to college," said Shanitiqe Gaston. 

Both camps have a lot to gain through the early voting process.

Political analyst Dr. Michael Bitzer said votes cast during early voting in 2008 helped President Barack Obama win North Carolina.

He said statewide more early votes could be cast this year than ever before.

"People are energized. People are enthused about this election," he said.

Election officials in Mecklenburg County said there are more registered voters this year.  They said the high turnout during early voting should make for shorter lines on Election Day.