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Inside the early vote numbers: North Carolina

Early voters in North Carolina

Every vote counts.

Yesterday, on the first day of early voting in Florida—where just 537 votes decided the 2000 election—we took a look at our incredible registration effort and grassroots foundation in the Sunshine State. As the day went on, we saw record-breaking turnout in three key Florida counties: Hillsborough (Tampa), Duval (Jacksonville) and Leon (Tallahassee).

Today we’ll travel north to North Carolina—another state where early voting is underway, and a state where everyone knows the value of every vote. In 2008 President Obama became the first Democrat to win the Tar Heel State in 32 years, by 14,000 votes: just five votes per precinct. We know this year will be just as close, and that every door knock, phone call and vote could make the difference.

That’s why our organization never left North Carolina after 2008. We’re fully committed to the state, with 54 offices, more than 400 neighborhood teams and a ground game that the Romney campaign just can’t match. This weekend we’re hosting 1,400 events and have recruited more than 13,000 volunteers to fill phone-banking and neighborhood-canvassing shifts.

In just the past two days, more than 3,500 North Carolinians came out to hear Grammy-winner Alicia Keys talk in Raleigh and at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro about the importance of early voting. R&B singer Trey Songz rallied students at nearby Bennett College, and comedian Kevin Hart turned out the vote at North Carolina Central University in Durham.

And we’re seeing enthusiasm in two other important, quantifiable factors: voter registration and early vote.

Voter registration:

  • Democrats make up 43 percent of registered voters in North Carolina, while Republicans comprise just 31 percent, and registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by more than 800,000.

  • Democrats have nearly doubled Republicans in new registrants since July—120,000 to 68,000—and this margin is growing every day at early voting sites all over North Carolina.

  • Since 2008, the number of registered African-Americans and Latinos has increased by 168,000.

Early vote:

  • Democrats make up 50 percent of early voters while Republicans comprise just 31 percent, and Democrats lead Republicans by more than 240,000 among early voters.

  • Since early voting began in North Carolina on October 18, turnout is up 20 percent over 2008 levels. More than 1.3 million votes have already been cast, 227,000 more than at this point four years ago.

  • Turnout among young voters is up 24 percent, and up 23 percent among African Americans. African Americans alone make up 22 percent of the state’s electorate and have already cast over 72,000 more ballots than at this point in 2008.

  • Among North Carolinians who didn’t vote in the 2010 midterms, Democrats are out-voting Republicans by nearly 2 to 1.

Every vote counts. And the North Carolina trends tell us we’ll be counting a lot of them for President Obama.

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