BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — More than 13,000 one-stop ballots cast in Brunswick County so far, compared to less than 10,000 this time in 2016.
The first Monday of early voting was not quite as busy in 2016. Polls in Brunswick County seeing 9,665 voters compared to 13,074 this year.
“A lot of people are turning out, which is fantastic. This is exactly what we want to see, we want to see people participating,” Brunswick County Board of Elections Director Sara Knotts said.
Although more people are coming to the polls, Knotts says the volume of voters is not the only reason for the lines looking longer this year.
Voters standing further apart gives the appearance of longer lines, communication barriers created by masks and plexiglass, cleaning the booth after every voter and only one ballot printer at each location.
After visiting multiple polling places, Knotts says more printers won’t shorten the lines.
“I really believe if we put another print station, we would end up having a line waiting for a vacant voting booth,” Knotts said.
The General Assembly de-certified touch screen voting machines because they did not produce physical ballots, meaning that option was off the table. Although, not to be confused with ballot marking devices used by people with disabilities.
So if you’re heading out to vote, be prepared to wait.
“You probably want to bring some water, maybe a snack. If you have trouble standing, you could certainly bring a chair,” Knotts said.
An umbrella also made the list of things Knotts suggests to help weather the wait.
Whether these lines will last is still unknown.
“Maybe they’re not going to go on election day and they’re trying to avoid that or maybe we’re going to have a higher turnout than we expected. I don’t know,” Knotts said.
If you are looking to avoid lines, Knotts says The Brunswick Center at Leland and The Brunswick Center at Supply are seeing less traffic than other polling places like The Brunswick Center at Callabash and Shallotte Commons.