Politics

Mail Voting Begins As North Carolina Sends Out Absentee Ballots

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Andrew Trunsky Elections Reporter
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North Carolina began mailing more than 600,000 absentee ballots to voters Friday, marking the official start of mail voting for November’s election.

Approximately 618,000 ballots have been initially requested by North Carolina voters, more than 16 times higher than the amount requested four years ago, the Associated Press reported. The requests came disproportionately from Democratic and Independent voters, according to AP.

The enormous increase in ballots requested comes as millions of voters seek alternative ways to vote due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Election experts predict that a majority of the electorate will cast a ballot by mail, compared to just 25% who did so in 2016, according to AP. In Wisconsin and Florida, two other swing states, absentee ballot requests have already surpassed 2016 totals by approximately 100,000 and 1 million, respectively.

“We’re already at over three times the amount of requests that we’ve ever had in its entirety in an election,” said Gary Sims, the director of North Carolina’s State Board of Elections. (RELATED: Here’s What North Carolina Is Doing To Provide Results On Election Night)

Among the 618,000 ballots requested thus far, 326,000 have been requested by Democrats and 192,000 have been requested by Independents, reflecting the extent to which mail-in voting has become a partisan issue, according to AP.

While some Democrats have been supportive of absentee voting as an alternative to voting in-person amid the pandemic, several Republicans have been much more critical of the method. President Donald Trump said it would lead to the “most corrupt election” in the nation’s history. (RELATED: White House Response To Trump Seemingly Encouraging His Supporters To Vote Twice)

The differences in voting methods also mean that the results on election night may not match the final results, as forecasters are warning that the influx of absentee ballots may take days to count.

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