CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - With early voting in North Carolina set to start Thursday, voters in Mecklenburg County will have 33 sites to choose from including the Spectrum Center.
With 38 polling locations inside the arena, Spectrum Center will serve as the largest single site the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections has ever had in terms of number of voting panels.
“It’s exciting to have people in the building. We started setting up on Monday. Of course, early voting is tomorrow. We worked with the Board of Elections in Mecklenburg County to make sure we could create a safe, efficient environment people could come and vote," said Donna Julian, Executive Vice President and Spectrum Center General Manager.
Voters will enter the 5th Street entrance and exit through the HomeCourt exit. A line is expected with social distancing measures enforced both outside and inside the building.
Officials say to also be prepared to pass through a security check.
Free parking will be available for voters in the Center City Green parking deck.
Voting during a pandemic
Voters will also receive their own pen to use that functions as a stylus. The safety measures are put into place to give voters comfort when coming to vote, like first-time voter Destiny Ellis.
“A lot of people I look up to and older peers vote. It’s exciting to finally be able to vote especially during this election," said Ellis.
Ellis, 18, is a freshman at Johnson C. Smith University. The pandemic has forced all her classes online. She says it is important for young adults her age to exercise their right to vote.
“We are the next generation, so we need to be able to cast our vote -- whether Democrat or Republican -- in the right way and direction we feel it will help us grow," she said.
Johnson C. Smith University has launched their virtual campaign, “Bull Rush the Polls,” to encourage students to vote.
“We’re using them to use their influence to make positive change," said Frank Dorsey, associate director of student engagement.
He also says with venues such as the Spectrum Center open during the early-voting period, there is no excuse not to vote.
“I think it creates a no-excuse situation. You have absolutely zero excuses to not participate in voting this year," he said.