2022 NHC primary early voting surpasses 2018 numbers, Election Day is Tuesday
On Tuesday, May 17, New Hanover County voters go to the polls for 2022 Primary Election Day. Here’s what you need to know.
The polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. Early voting results will be released here by the North Carolina State Board of Elections after the close of polls.
On the Democratic ballot, voters are deciding who to send to the November 2022 race for offices like U.S. Senate, North Carolina's 7th Congressional District 7, sheriff, county commission, and school board.
For the Republican one it's those same races minus the race for sheriff, plus two seats on the Court of Appeals and a North Carolina Supreme Court Associate Justice.
Unaffiliated voters can choose either party to cast their ballot in.
Rae Hunter-Havens is the elections director for New Hanover County. She said after the 15-days of early voting, this year’s numbers far surpassed those from four years ago.
“In the 2018 primary, we voted, I think it was about 5,568 voters at one-stop. And so as of Saturday, the unofficial sort of turnout for early voting was 12,881. So we definitely saw a significant difference there,” said Hunter-Havens.
For absentee voting, in 2018, voters in the county only sent 259 ballots by mail, but this year it’s over 950 ballots.
According to Hunter-Havens, it looks like it’s becoming a trend that voters are choosing to vote early rather than on Election Day.
“And in many ways, I think that it's advantageous for voters because that way, it gives them multiple opportunities to vote during that 17-day period,” said Hunter-Havens. “Whereas sometimes if you wait till Election Day, things can come up, and so you have the intent to vote but something happens, and you're not able to get to your polling place on time. And so those are the situations that we really hate to see.”
While it is a state statutory window of 17 days of early voting, Hunter-Havens said the county goes with the 15-day window because, “the board has chosen not to open the early voting sites that the first weekend on Saturday and Sunday, just because traditionally, we see such low turnout on those days that they really felt there was ample opportunity across those 15 days for voters to turn out early and vote in person.”
As for who took advantage of early voting, Hunter-Havens said, “We're seeing both fairly comparable numbers for those voters who are affiliated with the Republican Party and those voters who are affiliated with the Democratic Party. And then what's interesting is those voters who are unaffiliated and have their choice of whose party's primary they participate in, they're pretty much equal, it's almost not quite a 50/50. But it doesn't seem to be skewed one way or the other."
Hunter-Havens said before voters go out to the polls, they need to check their polling location through the voter search online tool on the State Board of Elections website.
Voters can also call the county's Board of Elections office.
“It's 910-798-7330. And we'll have a team of folks here beginning at 6 a.m. to answer any questions they might have. And those folks will be available all day long to assist voters with finding their correct polling place or answering any other questions they may have,” said Hunter-Havens.
It’s also good to have a voting plan. Hunter-Havens said the most popular voting times are earlier in the day — and later into the evening. The times between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. are when the poll lines typically are shorter. And tomorrow is a teacher workday for those polling locations that are schools, so that should also cut down on traffic, according to Hunter-Havens.
And if a voter is in line by 7:30 p.m., they will have the opportunity to cast their ballot.
**Polling Place Changes**
- The polling place for precinct H13 has returned to Plantation Village, located at 1200 Porters Neck Road, Wilmington, NC 28411.
- The polling place for precinct W28 has been relocated to Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church (UMC)- Activity Building, located at 204 Pine Grove Drive, Wilmington 28403.
- The polling place for precinct W32 (formerly W18) has been relocated to Multiply Church, located at 4927 Wrightsville Avenue, Wilmington, NC 28403.