First day surpassed the 2008 election with about 120,000 voters
-By April Bethea
October 18, 2012- Thousands of residents across the Charlotte region headed to early voting sites on Thursday, waiting in line for the chance to be among the first in the state to cast ballots for the Nov. 6 election.
In Charlotte, about 150 people stood in line at the Hal Marshall Annex before that voting center opened at 8 a.m. An even bigger crowd was reported outside a polling site on the UNC Charlotte campus.
And late Thursday afternoon, the number of people waiting at Independence Regional Library still stretched around the building.
In Mecklenburg County, 15,009 residents cast votes on Thursday, easily surpassing the first-day early voting totals from 2008, according to board of elections website.
Statewide, more than 120,000 voters endured long lines at many locations to vote.
Voters were greeted at polling sites by candidates for state and local offices. The campaigns for President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also held rallies across the state to encourage people to vote early.
At a campaign stop in Dilworth, former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said early voting could help to maintain some of the momentum that has been building behind the Romney campaign in recent weeks.
Santorum said that while momentum was behind Obama four years ago in North Carolina, Romney supporters could “rewrite that narrative.”
At a rally at N.C. State University, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz also stressed the importance of voting early.
“We began our grassroots outreach efforts way back in the beginning of the 2008 campaign, and we never left North Carolina,” she said. “From here on out, every day is Election Day in North Carolina.”