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Election Day lines impacted by record-breaking early voting

Voters were lined up hours before the polls opened in North Carolina and South Carolina as they waited to cast a ballot in the 2020 election.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After months of campaigning, the COVID-19 pandemic and a seemingly never-ending stream of political ads, Election Day 2020 is finally here. 

Voters across North Carolina and South Carolina headed to the polls Tuesday to cast their ballot for a new president, as well as key Senate races that could shift the balance of power in Congress. 

In North Carolina, polls opened at 6:30 a.m. and most will close at 7:30 p.m. However, due to technical issues at a few locations in the state, some of the polling sites closed as late as 8:15 p.m. The precincts in North Carolina with extended voting times are listed below.

Voters who requested an absentee ballot but haven't mailed it in yet can still vote in person on Election Day in North Carolina. 

RELATED: How to check to see if your ballot was counted

In South Carolina, polls opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m.

Once polls begin to close around the country, America will begin to see early results from the Carolinas. The North Carolina State Board of Elections said it hopes to have 97 percent of ballots counted by the end of Election Night. People can expect the first results to roll in sometime around 8 p.m. 

Across York County, South Carolina, many voters were relieved to find little-to-no wait at their polling location -- aided by the fact that a record-breaking number of South Carolinians voted early. A historic 37 percent of all voters in that state requested an absentee ballot. 

In North Carolina, record-breaking early voting numbers may have also impacted Election Day lines. In Gaston County, more than 95,000 people voted via early and absentee voting -- a 63 percent turnout of the 150,000 eligible voters in the county. In 2016, Gaston County had a 67 percent overall turnout for early, absentee and in-person, Election Day voting. 

With so many mail-in ballots this year, there's a good chance America won't know who won on Election Day. Several states, including North Carolina, will continue to count absentee ballots that are received after Election Day. The state won't certify any results until Nov. 24, at the absolute earliest. 

POLLING PLACE CLOSING TIME CHANGES:

The North Carolina State Board of Elections voted to extend voting at an additional three precincts after each opened late on Election Day.  

Guilford County: Voting will be extended by 34 minutes at Bluford Elementary School. Polls will now close at 8:04 p.m.

Sampson County: Voting will be extended by 45 minutes at Plainview Fire Station. Polls there will close at 8:15 p.m. Voting will be extended 24 minutes to 7:54 p.m. at the Northeast Clinton precinct.

Cabarrus County: Earlier, the North Carolina State Board of Elections voted to extended voting at First Missionary Baptist Church in Cabarrus County due to an issue with polling equipment. No voters were turned away but the precinct didn't open until all of the printers were working. Cabarrus County said a ballot issue affected 50 voters at Hickory Ridge Middle School Tuesday morning. The ballot did not include the race for the 83rd District in the North Carolina House. Cabarrus County officials say they have exact names of the voters who were impacted between 6:30 a.m. and 7:26 a.m. Voters were told their ballot will count, and they could return to the site to cast a provisional ballot for that race.

The extended voting times at both the Plainview Fire Station and the First Missionary Baptist Church means elections officials will be delayed from tabulating results.  All polling locations in North Carolina must be closed before officials can begin counting ballots. 

POSSIBLE VOTER INTIMIDATION:

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police confirmed they arrested a man with a firearm at a polling location in Charlotte. Police say the man was intimidating voters with an unconcealed firearm at Precinct 202 which is in northern Mecklenburg County.

GET OUT THE VOTE:

Mayor Vi Lyles came out to East Stonewall AME Zion Church to encourage people to vote. The mayor talked about the items on the ballot that are important to Charlotte and also spoke about the need to remain calm pending the outcome of the election.

Credit: WCNC

Charlotte rapper DaBaby announces partnership with Lyft to give voters in Charlotte a free ride to their polling place

POLLS OPEN:

Polls officially opened in South Carolina at 7 a.m. 

Polls officially opened in North Carolina at 6:30 a.m.

Voters were already lined up early in Rock Hill despite temperatures in the 30s.