CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Early voting kicked off Thursday morning across North Carolina, and voters around town experienced long waiting lines.
“We’re expecting as many as last year or even more. Last time we had more than 10,000 (early voters),” said Michael Dickerson of the Mecklenburg Board of Elections. “That’s the excitement of early voting.”
Long lines were at the Hal Marshall Annex on the north side of Charlotte’s uptown Thursday morning. The average wait time was estimated at about an hour.
Polls opened at 11 a.m., except for the Hal Marshall Center, which opened at 8 a.m. Early voting allows any registered voter to cast their ballot in person prior to election day.
About 350 sites across the state feature early voting until November 3, and the Hal Marshall Annex is one of 22 polling locations in Mecklenburg County.
Among those who arrived to vote early was a group from Obama for America, which marched from the organization’s Charlotte headquarters on East Ninth Street to vote early. A half-hour after the doors opened, dozens of people were still waiting in line outside the building. The group then went to UNCC for a rally with Students for Obama.
A Board of Elections official predicted Thursday that more people will vote during early voting than on election day. There are several advantages to early voting, including fewer crowds, convenient days and hours and several locations scattered across the area.
Only during early voting can voters actually register to vote and cast their ballot on the same day.
If you plan to register, you'll need to show election officials one of the following, all with your current address listed: a North Carolina Driver's license, a utility bill or bank statement, a paycheck stub or student ID.
If you've already registered and voted at your current address, you don't need to bring identification.
For more information on Early Voting times and locations click here.
The Charlotte Observer contributed to this report.