By Tim Gardner
If the first seven days of early voting in Avery County for the 2022 General Election is a good indicator, it could be one of the largest voter turnouts ever in the county’s 111-year history.
Through Friday, October 28, there have been 1,047 One-Stop, Early Voting Ballots Cast and 111 Ballots Cast by United States Mail in the county.
That’s the most ballots cast in early voting after one week in the county, according to the Avery’s Board of Elections Deputy Director Joseph Trivette.
According to North Carolina Board of elections data, there were 12,629 registered voters in Avery County as of October 28. That total includes: 7,251 Republicans; 1,346 Democrats; 3,974 Unaffiliated; 57 Libertarians; and 1 Green Party member.
Early Voting began in Avery County on Thursday, October 20 and continues for the following six more days (with time periods listed):
Monday, October 31 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, November 1 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, November 2 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, November 3 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Friday, November 4 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 5 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
All Early Voting in the county must be done at the Avery County Senior Citizens Center, located at 165 Schultz Street in downtown Newland.
Avery’s high voter turnout so far parallels the State of North Carolina, which is having massive numbers of voters casting early ballots. There are 7,404,580 registered voters in the Tar Heel state as of October 29, 2022.
Also, through October 29, more than 1 million registered voters in North Carolina have cast early ballots in the 2022 General Election. The exact number is 1,127,026. A breakdown of that total is:
One-Stop Early Voting 1,036,338
Absentee By-Mail: Civilian 86,790
Absentee By-Mail: Military 689
Absentee By-Mail: Overseas 3,209
So far, Democrats lead the turnout for early voting and mailed-in ballots with 441,997 cast, followed by Republicans with 350,717. Unaffiliated voters surpassed the major parties earlier this year as the largest voting group in the state. They represent more than 35 percent of registered North Carolina voters and 331,837 have voted early. Libertarians have cast 2,424 early ballots, while 51 Green Party registered voters have already cast ballots.
Although there is still more than a week left of early voting, voters can also choose to wait to vote on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8. A huge majority of voters traditionally vote on Election Day.
In North Carolina’s last general midterm (non-U.S. Presidential election) in 2018, the turnout rate was 53 percent through Election Day when 3,755,778 of 7,089,657 eligible voters cast ballots. According to North Carolina Board of Elections statistics, the 2018 turnout was the largest midterm participation rate since 1990 when 62 percent or 2,068,904 of 3,347,635 eligible voters cast ballots.
North Carolina total voter turnout in the 2020 presidential election was 5.5 million voters which was a turnout rate of 75 percent of eligible voters (5,545, 848 of 7,359,798). That’s the highest turnout for more than 50 years in a presidential year election via the state’s elections board data.