Despite fears that confusion surrounding the state’s new voter ID law would reduce turnout and slow down lines, it appears that voting in at least two Raleigh precincts is going fairly smoothly.
At around 1:30 p.m. at the Cameron Village Library, Chief Judge Barbara Abernathy said that around six hundred voters had cast their ballots. “We’ve had an awesome turnout,” she said.
Voter Emily McCrary, who named presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and superintendent of public schools candidate Henry Pankey as two candidates she cast ballots for, said the whole process took her five minutes. “I think it’s important,” McCrary said about why she votes. “We have this privilege of participating in what happens in our country and we have an obligation to do so.”
Fellow Cameron Village voter Carlene Kucharczyk, who was voter 616 at the precinct, voted with a Libertarian Party ballot for presidential candidate Gary Johnson. “I think I may have been the first one to ask for a Libertarian ballot,” she said. “I would like to see a more nonpartisan system. I think it’s important to put your name for it for what you want to see, even if people think [the candidate] wouldn’t be viable to actually win.”
Oakwood voter Darnella Reeder, a law student at N.C. Central who voted in the Democratic primary, said she drove from Durham to vote in Raleigh because she missed the deadline to change her registration. “I vote for my voice to be heard,” she said, “and, historically, especially with African-Americans not too long ago getting the right to vote, I try to exercise my right to vote.”
At the Chavis Community Center in Southeast Raleigh, which served as one of three early voting locations in the city, there was a bit more confusion. Chief Judge Gary Greenshields said at around 2:30 p.m. that about two hundred votes had been actually cast at Chavis, but several people had been turned away because they thought this was their election day polling place though it wasn’t. One woman, who said she had voted at Chavis in previous elections, told the INDY that she was on her way to Fuller Elementary School to vote.
Pearlie Gatling, another voter turned away at the polls, said she had always voted at Chavis and didn’t get a notification that her polling place had changed. “I wouldn’t have come here if it was the wrong polling place,” Gatling said. “My leg hurts, and I wish I didn’t have to walk up all of these steps for nothing.”
But not everyone had problems voting at Chavis. “The line wasn’t long,” said Tenika Wright. “If you wait until the last minute, of course it’s going to be long. I am voting for Bernie. And if Trump wins, I’m moving to Canada or the moon. You can come with me.”
The polls in North Carolina close at 7:30 p.m. tonight.