Bladen and Columbus counties had slow but steady voter turnout Tuesday, with quite a few of the voters casting a ballot for the very first time. It was business as usual in Columbus and Bladen counties. There were lines at 6:30 a.m. in the morning, but later only a couple people voting at a time. There were almost no lines with plenty of open voting booths. That was the scene across both Bladen and Columbus counties Tuesday. The reason was early voting. In Columbus County in 2004, 3,000 people voted early. Compare that with 13,000 early voters this year, 33% of voters. Andy Anderson is with the Columbus County Board of Elections. He is impressed with the early voting turnout. “Already record numbers, we have already passed all of our expectations and anything that we'd guessed, so we have no idea how many people. We're just excited about the participation." There were a record number of early voters for this year’s election. “I'm voting for the first time. I've never paid attention to the candidates before now. I've looked into them and I want a president with more Christian values,” said Timothy McDowell, first time voter. Another reason election officials believe they saw record numbers is the fact that North Carolina is a battleground state. At the polls in both Columbus and Bladen counties, it seemed that everything was running smoothly. There were no complaints or concerns from any voters.
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