'We’re slightly ahead of where we were in 2018': Gaston County sees an increase in early voters

Over one million voters in North Carolina have cast their ballots for the 2022 general election.
Election officials in Gaston County are excited about the surge in early voters this year.
Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 8:44 PM EDT
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GASTONIA, N.C. (WBTV) - People have been able to early vote for more than a week now, and the state board of elections is showing a surge in people casting their votes.

As of Friday evening, more than one million voters had cast their ballots for the 2022 general election, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

Counties across the Charlotte area are also seeing an increase in voters as well, compared to the 2018 midterms.

Ellen Roberts, the Chief Judge of BOE One-Stop in Gaston County said, “The first couple of days we absolutely slammed, we constantly had people which is great.”

In Gaston County, there’s a lot of excitement among election officials and voters about the turnout so far this year.

“We love people to come out to vote, we love the high turnout, we can handle it, the volume, my workers, they can handle that kind of turnout, we want that kind of turnout,” said Adam Ragan, the director of elections for Gaston County.

Ellen Roberts, the Chief Judge of BOE One-Stop in Gaston County said, “It’s not as busy as the presidential year would be, but it’s good.”

As of Friday evening, 20,575 people had cast their votes in Gaston County, representing a turnout of 13.27 percent of registered voters so far. The county has a total of 155,025 eligible voters.

“We’re slightly ahead of where we were in 2018, we definitely have an increased mail-out ballot requests and mail out ballot we’ve sent,” said Ragan.

So, what has people coming out more this midterm election?

“First I’ve had a couple of years to think about it, and then lately with all of the political ads, I’ve really had more time to think about it, and I’ve gone back, investigated myself, and looked at the candidates,” Jackie Dills said.

Miguel Rodriguec added, “I came out early because I like for my party to get there on time.”

For other voters, it was making sure nothing stopped them from voting on Election Day.

“I’m glad that I came on out and did it today, because a week before the election, I don’t know I’ll probably be working late, or maybe overtime and just couldn’t get out,” said Gloria McConnell.

Gaston County Election officials tell WBTV an average of 2,200 people voted each day during the 2018 midterm early voting period, and now they’re averaging between 2,500 to 2,600 voters a day during this midterm early voting period.

Ragan said, “we have a competitive senate race which is bringing out voters, but in Gaston County, not a lot of other competitive races.”

The county usually sees half of all votes cast for the general election during the early voting period.

Once all votes have been counted, Gaston County officials expect voter turnout to reach between 50 percent to 52 percent of registered voters in the county.

“It’s up to us to make a change,” said McConnell.

Dills added, “Get it over today, it makes you feel better.”

If you’re not able to early vote, the deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail is this Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 5 p.m. and it must be postmarked by election day to be counted or brought to the county’s board of elections by 5 p.m. on Election Day.

Also: Election Deadline: Friday is last day to request a ballot in the mail