Outside a south Durham voting site, a sign reading “Joy To The Polls,” was emblazoned across the side of a flatbed truck blaring the 1970’s mega-hit, “One Nation Under A Groove.”  

The Funkadelic tune played by DJ Karolina near the Weaver Street Community Center pretty much summed up the spirit of the election in the Bull City, and across the state.

“This is a chance

This is a chance

To dance your way 

Out of your constrictions…:

Many Durham County residents heeded the advice of Democratic Party leaders who recommended making it to the polls during the early voting period. But Election Day participation was a different matter.

By afternoon, Steve McKnight, a member of the Durham Democratic Party was about to finish his early morning shift at the Rogers-Herr Middle School precinct where he started at 6 a.m. as a poll worker.

“It’s been pretty light,” he said about the day’s turnout. “There’s only 300 remaining voters for this precinct.”

Officials with the State Board of Elections reported that over 67 percent of Durham’s registered voters cast their ballots during the early voting period. That number eclipsed the statewide total of just over 62 percent.

Not surprisingly, Durham poll workers and volunteers say the Election Day crowds did not come close to matching the early voting turnout.

“It’s been very, very slow,” Elaine Ferguson, a member of the People’s Alliance PAC, said while volunteering at the Glenn School precinct in northeast Durham.

The Bull City is deep blue. The PAC volunteers on Tuesday overwhelmingly handed out ballot recommendations for the People’s Alliance and Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People.

Outside the precinct at the Hope Valley Baptist Church on Garrett Road, Anibal C. Crischlow was handing out card stock paper flyers on behalf of the Durham County Republican Party

 “Anti-Socialist, Pro-Police: 2020 Candidate Slate,” was emblazoned across the top of Crischlow’s flyers. 

Crishlow is homeless and staying at the Durham Rescue Mission. 

Crischlow, 35, said it was just before 6 a.m., when rescue mission officials “picked me out of the breakfast line and told me they needed people out here.”

“Honestly, I really don’t know,” Crischlow said when asked by the INDY how much was he being paid. “They said they are giving me room and board, and that’s enough.”

He wasn’t sure when he was leaving the site.

“I’ll be out here until they pick me up,” he said.

People’s Alliance member Gwendolyn Butler worked at a precinct at the White Rock Baptist Church on Fayetteville Street. She said about 100 people had cast their ballots by 2 p.m.

“You can tell a lot of people voted early,” said Butler, who has worked at the polls for the past five years. “It’s not as busy as it usually is, but it’s been steady. People are coming in spurts.”

Butler voted for the Biden-Harris ticket. She’s anxious about this election.

“I just hope my heart won’t be broke when it’s over,” she added.

Nathan White, the precinct captain, said Trump isn’t running for re-election, he’s running from the law.

 “New York can’t wait to get their hands on him,” White said.

Wanza Cameron was behind the wheel of the flatbed truck that carried DJ Karolina to the community center on Weaver Street. The Durham resident was still wearing his sticker from the early voting period.

“I voted three weeks ago,” Cameron said. “I’m trying to get Trump out of there as fast as I can.”

Follow Durham Staff Writer Thomasi McDonald on Twitter or send an email to tmcdonald@indyweek.com.

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