CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- More than 42% of North Carolinians have already cast ballots in the 2012 general election through early and absentee voting.

Experts said that could mean shorter Election Day lines at precincts all over the state.

In Mecklenburg County, by Monday evening, 278,253 of the 676,692 registered voters had completed either early or absentee ballots.

In Gaston County 43% and in Union County 40% of registered voters made their picks before election day. Cabarrus County boasts 30% early voting participation.

The best time to visit the polls on November 6 is mid-morning, around 10 a.m. or mid-afternoon starting at 3 p.m.

Polls are busiest from 6:30 a.m. until 9 a.m., during the noon lunch hour and after-work rush.

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