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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Officials say about 150,000 North Carolinians cast their ballots on the first day of early voting.

Election officials say the number of ballots cast Thursday surpassed the first day of voting four years ago. Officials say about 117,000 people cast their ballots on the first day of early voting in 2008.

Officials say as many as 70 percent of voters might cast their ballots in North Carolina before the Nov. 6 election day. Early voting ends Nov. 3.

North Carolina is one of eight swing states that could decide the outcome of the presidential election.

President Obama won North Carolina four years ago, the first Democrat to carry the state in 32 years. He also received more of the early votes than Republican John McCain.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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