Painted wood "VOTE" cutout designed by members of the League of Women Voters of Charlotte Mecklenburg. Photo: QCity Metro

After an election season like no other, we’ve reached Election Day.

Even before the polls opened today at 6:30 a.m., a record-breaking 4.5 million North Carolina voters already had cast early ballots, including 474,056 who cast ballots in person or by mail in Mecklenburg County.

The QCity Metro news team is canvassing Mecklenburg County today for all things Election 2020. Check back throughout the day for updates.

60 years of voting

The only time Preston McCloud, 76, didn’t cast a vote was in 1960, when John F. Kennedy defeated incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon to become the 35th President of the United States. From that point on, he said, voting became an obligation and not a privilege. 

Preston McCloud

Sixty years later, McCloud was volunteering at East Stonewall AME Zion Church on Election Day, helping another generation of voters to cast their ballots. By noon, he said, the pace there had been steady, but he and other volunteers there were expecting bigger crowds once voters got off from work.

Pastor Michael McLean said East Stonewall AME Zion Church (precinct 16) used to be the largest voting precinct in Mecklenburg County, and although voter numbers had dwindled over the years, he said the church remains “strong and mighty.” 

“Our purpose for being here today is to support our community,” McLean said. “As the pastor, I want to make sure they can come to a safe place to vote. We’ve taken all the necessary precautions.”

McLean called this the 2020 presidential race “one of the greatest elections of our generation.”

By: Jonathan Limehouse

All’s quiet at the polls, state officials say

Despite talk of violence and potential voter intimidation, the North Carolina State Board of Elections reported no significant incidents as of midday Tuesday.

The concern grew from remarks made by President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly raised unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and encouraged his supporters to keep watch in major cities, where Democrats and people of color are more likely to vote. 

At a 10 a.m. press conference, Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the state board, said North Carolina had seen few reports of voter intimidation since early voting began 17 days ago, and she didn’t think Election Day would be any different.

“I think the reassurance for everyone should be that nearly 4.6 million ballots have already been cast by North Carolinians, and that has happened with very little to no incidents for most of the counties throughout the state,” she said.

Bell said her office has put in place safeguards to protect voters by working with local, state and federal agencies. She also said that law enforcement had been called when necessary.

“We have always taken those measures to make sure any voter is able to cast a ballot, and this year to make sure they can do it without fear of disease,” Bell said.

As of Monday, 62% of registered voters in North Carolina already had cast ballots.

Polls in the state will stay open until 7:30 p.m., and anyone in line at that time will be permitted to vote.

Some polling sites may be allowed to stay open past the deadline because of late openings, which were caused by various issues, including poll workers showing up late, Bell said.

“The extension of hours is not unusual in any election,” she said, adding that, with 2660 polling locations across the state, hiccups are inevitable.

In Mecklenburg County, two precincts reported operational issues that resulted in short delays, said Kristin Mavromatis with the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections.

By: Janey Tate

Peer pressure…the good kind

Bri Collins, 26, voted at Waddell Language Academy in south Charlotte. She said she wanted to contribute to a “pretty important election.”

A 2016 graduate from the UNC Charlotte, she said her first time voting was in 2012, when he was 18-years-old. She cast that presidential ballot to re-elect former President Barrack Obama.

Collins said her peers and friends around campus encouraged her to vote eight years ago, and she said they continue to push her to go to the polls on Election Day. 

“It’s just kind of like something that’s always been important in my peer group,” Collins said.

Also at Waddell Language Academy…

Brittany Avery voted for the first time Tuesday, because, she said, “it’s time for a change.”

 The 21-year-old said she concluded that voting was the right thing to do, and she loved her overall experience at the polls. 

Garfield Roseboro, 65, said he didn’t vote in the last couple of elections, but this time, he said, he was motivated to make things better.

“Now is a big step,” Roseboro said. 

By: Jonathan Limehouse

Looking to make a difference

First-time voter Jomaurie Rodman wasn’t sure of her polling precinct, but it wasn’t going to stop her.

Her hometown in the Outer Banks has only a handful of locations, versus the dozens in Mecklenburg County. She looked up her apartment address at the board of elections website, and the voter search tool brought her to Mallard Creek Elementary. 

“I want to make a difference. Even though I’m just one vote, you never know if that’s going to be the one vote that matters,” says Rodman, a UNC Charlotte student studying criminal justice and psychology.

The 21-year-old also saw that one of her favorite entertainers, DaBaby, was popping up at polling precincts, including Mallard Creek Elementary. She joined the growing crowd waiting to vote and meet the Grammy-nominated rapper from Charlotte.

Rodman says she’s not happy about the last four years, and that voting allows her to do something about it.

She plans to watch election results tonight and says she’s nervous but excited. “We’re gonna see.”

By: Katrina Louis

A first-time volunteer…and Al Green

John, a first-time poll worker, says the morning has been running like clockwork. The longest line, he said, was before the site at University Meadows Elementary in northeast Charlotte opened at 6:30 a.m., but people were in and out within 10 minutes, he added.

John was motivated this election season to become a first-time poll worker.

John volunteered despite being considered “vulnerable” — he’s older and has a heart condition. He was motivated to work the polls so that voters have a smooth experience making their voices heard.

Across the parking lot, Steven Warren was setting up loudspeakers and a mixer. The sounds of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” brought John over to do a quick dance.

Warren is a local coordinator for Joy to the Polls, an initiative that’s encouraging people to create voter-inspired musical playlists. The campaign was created by the nonpartisan group Election Defenders, a group of volunteers fighting against voter intimidation

Joy to the Polls coordinators: (left) Nigel Robinson (right) Steve Warren 

By: Katrina Louis

Why I Vote

This election season, QCity Metro has been running a video series called Why I Vote. (You can view the entire series on our Youtube page.)

In the video below, former Charlotte Mayor Harvey B. Gantt talks about his motivations for going to the polls

“If I want to impact things like healthcare, and education and people who are going to make decisions for me, I need to participate,” he says.

YouTube video

Video by: Jack Brayboy

Reminder: Polls in North Carolina close at 7:30 p.m.

[Related: What happens once polls close on Election Day?]

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