More than 3.1 million people in North Carolina have cast their ballots as of Monday morning, according to state data. That means more than 43% of registered voters in the state have voted early or absentee with little more than a week to go until Election Day.
Tuesday is the last day to request an absentee ballot in North Carolina. People can still register and vote at same-day polling sites until Saturday. Election Day is Nov. 3.
Turnout for absentee and early voters this year has been high so far. Almost twice as many people have voted already this year compared to the same time in the 2016 election.
As of Monday morning, Durham, Chatham and Orange counties have already hit 50% turnout of registered voters, according to the State Board of Elections. Dozens or other counties in the state have broken 40% voter turnout with five days left in early voting.
About 780,000 people have cast absentee ballots, either by mail or dropping them off. That’s about four times as many people who voted absentee in the last presidential election.
A record number of people in North Carolina have requested absentee ballots this year because of concerns over possible exposure to the coronavirus.
The state has become a battleground in the presidential election, and the decision of North Carolina voters could be key to whether Donald Trump is reelected or Joe Biden becomes president in January.
The path to which party controls the Senate could also come through North Carolina, with a close race between Republican Sen. Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham.
About 23% of the turnout in North Carolina so far has been Gen Z and Millennial voters, 18 to 39-year-olds, according to NextGen America, a left-leaning organization focused on young voters.
“The more young voters show up and vote, the more trouble Trump and Tillis will have this year,” NextGen Spokeswoman Rachel Weber told Spectrum News 1. She said polling and internal data show younger voters are twice as likely to cast a ballot for Biden.
Weber said polling shows that young voters are most concerned with climate change, racial justice, health care costs and the cost of college.
The Trump campaign touted the president's economic record to attract younger voters.
"President Trump's record of economic success and his pro-America agenda resonates with young voters. North Carolina Trump Victory shares that winning message through a robust youth outreach program that has a presence on over 25 college campuses statewide," Trump Campaign North Carolina Spokesman Gates McGavick said.
State data shows that of voters under 29 who have already cast their ballots, 38% are registered Democrats, 22% Republicans and 39% unaffiliated.
Overall, state data shows 40% of voters so far are registered Democrats, 30% registered Republicans and 29% unaffiliated.
The data shows strong interest in the election this year. About a quarter of the voters who have cast ballots in North Carolina so far did not vote in the 2016 General Election.
More than half of North Carolina’s 7.3 million registered voters have yet to cast their ballots, and the presidential campaigns have no signs of letting up the fight for the state’s 15 Electoral College voters.
Trump has made near-weekly visits to the state over the past two months, except for when he was recovering from the coronavirus. Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to be in North Carolina this week, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the president again in the final days before the election.
Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), have also been making regular campaign stops in The Old North State.