LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. — Some voters in the Charlotte area waited hours to cast their votes. The Defenders team poured through state data about the number of poll workers per county. Since counties are all different sizes, theres a different ratio between poll workers and the number of registered voters in each county.
The data showed Lincoln County had among the lowest rates of poll workers on Election Day. The county’s elections director said he’s not concerned about the number of poll workers because people in the county tend to heavily vote early.
People in Lincoln County who decided to vote early on Friday said the wait wasn't bad.
“I've early voted just because of the convenience of it,” said Jon Propst.
Pitts says he’s been voting early for over a decade.
“I deal with medical issues with my back and hip, so being able to go early vote somewhere where I'm not having
to stand too long makes it a whole lot easier,” said Chris Pitts.
Early voting also eases the pressure on poll workers come Election Day, according to Lincoln County Elections Director, Bradley Putnam.
“We feel comfortable, but having the more the merrier is always the case,” said Putnam about the need for more poll workers.
The Defenders team found Lincoln County has among the lowest ratio of poll workers to registered voters on Election Day; the analysis includes a breakdown from the eight counties below:
- Mecklenburg County: one poll worker to 286 voters
- Gaston County: one poll worker to 211 voters
- Lincoln County: one poll worker to 358 voters
- Cabarrus County: one poll worker to 227 voters
- Union County: one poll worker to 296 voters
- Iredell County: one poll worker to 359 voters
- Rowan County: one poll worker to 255 voters
- Cleveland County: one poll worker to 184 voters
WCNC Charlotte asked Putnam if he has any concerns about the rate of poll workers being lower than other counties.
“I don't,” said Putnam. “Our voters tend to vote early pretty heavy.”
In fact, elections directors in both Lincoln and Iredell counties tell WCNC Charlotte they estimate at least half of their votes will come from early voting. However, Putnam says the lines have decreased from Thursday when they saw wait times of up to 45 minutes.
“We knew yesterday would be a big day, I don't know that anybody knew it would be that big,” said Putnam.
“I think the enthusiasm of this race has really gotten people to come out,” said Propst.
Putnam says they can always use more poll workers in case some people drop out due to COVID 19 or other reasons, so anyone interested in being a poll worker should contact them.