Early in-person voting slightly up compared with the same time in 2018

Through the first full week of early voting, which began April 28, 1,256 people cast in-person ballots throughout Stanly County.

Of the total, about 89 percent (1,120) have been Republicans, not surprising since of the numerous state and local races involving Stanly County candidates, Republicans make up all but two of them. Registered Democrats have cast only 136 ballots.

Registered voters across the state can vote in the primary, however, voters affiliated with any political party will be given a ballot of candidates for that party. Unaffiliated voters may choose the ballot of candidates for either party primary.

The number of people who voted is a slight increase from the 1,185 people who voted in 2018, according to election data provided by Stanly County Board of Elections Director Kimberly Blackwelder. But comparing the data comes with a few caveats: Four years ago, only one in-person location was available (the Commons) and the site was open each day for 8.5 hours — three hours less than what’s offered at early voting locations this year.

Even though turnout is higher this year, the in-person totals through the first seven days are well behind 2014 numbers, when more than 1,700 came out to vote. But for that year, the early voting locations were open each day for 14 hours.

After a few days of lower than usual turnout during the current cycle — only 170 people cast in-person ballots on the first day — the numbers have gradually picked up. Almost 200 people voted on May 4.

“Even though the first couple of days were lower turnout than 2018, we have picked up in the last few days and it’s kind of evened out to be on course to where we were in 2018,” Blackwelder said.

When combining in-person totals with the numbers of people who voted by mail and overseas, 1,312 people have cast ballots in Stanly County.

When comparing election data, election officials typically focus on similar election cycles, Blackwelder said. That’s why it’s easier comparing voting totals for this current cycle with 2018 as opposed with the 2020 primary, which involved a presidential election and which, as result, tends to have more people come out.

One-Stop Early Voting runs through May 14 while absentee voting, which began in late March, concludes May 10. The statewide primary is May 17.