polling place photo

Monroe High School, one of eight early voting sites in Union County, had more than 13,000 voters participate in the 2020 Election prior to Election Day.

UNION COUNTY — Every election is labeled by a political candidate as the most important election of our lifetimes.

How historic the 2020 presidential election will be is yet to be determined. If the flood of residents pouring into early-voting polling sites and the swath of mail-in votes sent in to be counted, Americans seem to be putting more emphasis on the 2020 election this fall.

Nationally, nearly 100 million Americans have voted early — which is more than twice as many as the 2016 Election. The 2020 Election is being concluded on Tuesday, Nov. 3, which is the final day to vote.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections reports that voter turnout in Union County is at 64.8%. Total ballots cast in the county is reported to be 108,849 — 18,531 by-mail ballots cast and 90,318 one-stop ballots cast. (not including Oct. 31).

According to the Union County Board of Elections (BOE), more than 87,000 early voters were counted from Oct. 15-Oct. 30. The number of voters for Oct. 31 has yet to be sent out.

On Thursday, Oct. 15, there were 7,224 voters counted — the highest number of voters counted during the 15-day period. The second highest was Oct. 19 with 6,797 voters. With the exception of Rea View Elementary and Wingate Community Center, each of the County’s eight polling places saw one or more days with over 1,000 early voters.

The polling place with the highest attendance (Oct. 31 numbers not included) was Stallings Volunteer Fire Department with 13,734 early voters.

The total number of voters per polling station include: Stallings VFD (13,734), Monroe High School (13,308), Hemby Bridge VFD (13,240), Wesley Chapel VFD (11,187), Mineral Springs VFD (10,543), Marvin Ridge High School (10,275), Wingate Community Center (8,459) and Rea View Elementary (6,363).

There are a total of 168,000 registered voters in the county, according to Brett Vines, public information officer for Union County Government.

As of Oct. 31, the state board reports Union County having 40,284 Democratic voters, 68,708 Republican voters and 57,457 Unaffiliated voters.

Considering the local BOE has counted a plethora of ballots and still more to count, how can Union County voters trust their ballot will be received and counted? They can check the North Carolina’s State Board of Elections’ website. There, they can click on the Voter Tools and Forms page and check the status of their provisional ballot (https://www.ncsbe.gov/vot ing/voter-tools-and -forms).

Absentee ballots can be tracked through BallotTrax, a service used by the state board (https://northcarolina.ballottrax.net/voter/).

Speaking on the integrity of the ballot counting process in Union County, Vines described it as “safe” and “secure.”

“I would tell anyone that they don’t have to worry about their vote not being counted, because all of the votes are counted,” he said.

For this year’s election, per the North Carolina State Board of Elections, 4.5 million total ballots have been cast and voter turnout is at 61.8%. Of the total ballots; 3.6 million one-stop early voting ballots have been cast and 939,690 absentee by mail ballots have been cast, as of 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 2, according to the state board. There are 158,500 outstanding absentee ballots, as of 5 a.m. on Monday. Meaning, a ballot was requested by a voter, but who has not voted.

There are 7,367,696 registered voters in the state.

Four years ago, there were 150,955 registered voters and 106,374 votes cast (70.47%) in Union County, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections. Of the total number of registered voters — 39,875 were Democratic voters, 63,444 Republican voters and 47,017.

At that time, there were 6,918,150 registered voters in the state — 2,733,188 Democratic voters, 2,086,942 Republican voters and 2,065,687 Unaffiliated.

An analysis published in January of 2017 by Democracy North Carolina, shows that 69% of North Carolina’s then 6.9 million registered voters cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election — right behind the record turnout in 2008 which was 69.6%.

Voting sites will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and to find your polling station, visit https://vt.ncsbe.gov/PPLkup/

Vines said voters who are still in line at 7:30 p.m. will be able to vote.

Unlike early voting, voters on Tuesday will have to go to their assigned precinct.