Election 2014 has come and gone, and more than 2.9 million North Carolinians voted. While this number is the highest total of voters to participate in a mid-term election, it fell just in the middle if looking at percentage of registered voters who participated. Just 44% of North Carolinians who were registered to vote actually cast a ballot.
It’s clear that we still have a lot of work to do in order to ensure all North Carolinians have their voices heard. Some parts of the new voting law went into effect this year, creating some confusion for voters who went to the incorrect precincts on Election Day. One of the changes for 2014 was that North Carolinians could no longer cast provisional ballots if they voted out of their precinct.
Voters experienced long waits during the early voting period (October 23 – November 1). The number of early voting days was reduced; however, these sites offered the same number of hours to vote as in previous years. Despite the extend voting hours, North Carolinians still experienced wait times of up to two to three hours in some locations.
Here at the NCLCV Foundation, we are crunching the numbers to help inform our work for 2015 and beyond. This year, we were able to help 15,000 North Carolinians register to vote, and our canvassers knocked on more than 175,000 doors in Mecklenburg, Forsyth, Guilford, Wake, and Harnett counties between October 13 and November 4. We are incredibly proud of all of our team members!
Stay tuned: voter education is a never-ending process. The issues at stake may change, but the need to participate in the democratic process will not. In fact, it will only continue to become more important as fears over dark money and special interests drowning out the voices of constituents grows.