ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) — Buncombe County elections officials say the first-day figures for early voting showed a strong turnout.
Early voting locations and absentee ballot drop-off locations opened doors at 8 a.m. Thursday. According to Buncombe County Election Services Director Corinne Duncan, more than 6,000 voters had cast their ballots by 2 p.m., meaning, on average, about 1,000 county residents cast their votes each hour within that window of time.
Additionally, Duncan says, many more voters wanted to vote absentee this year compared to 2016.
“In 2016, we had over 7,500 requests, just a little over that,” Duncan said. “To date, our office has more than 51,000 requests.”
Although many voting locations across the state reported long lines, certain locations had little to no wait, especially for absentee voters who were dropping off ballots.
“I pulled into the parking lot, I immediately went to step one,” Andrea James, an absentee voter, said. “I was there just for a second, went to step two, turned in my ballot and now I’m on my way.”
Other voters stood in line, filled out and submitted ballots at polling locations.
“I’m typically a person who likes to vote on election day,” Ashanti Ternoir said. “This time around, I just wanted to get it done for a lot of different reasons.”
Buncombe County offers voters access to a map with wait times at polling locations to help avoid long lines. You can find that map here.