Voters across the state have choices on this year's midterm elections ballots. Every state legislate race is contested and there are six proposed state constitutional amendments on the ballot.
Before the polls opened at 6:30 a.m., at least 15 voters were waiting outside the gymnasium at H.J. MacDonald Middle School in New Bern.
“The fact that there were so many women on the ballots this year, it gave women that shine. We do make a difference and our voices need to be heard,” said New Bern resident Bonita Simmons, a registered Democrat, who voted before 7 a.m.
The Democratic candidates in the two state legislative races on Simmons's ballot are both women. Ginger Garner is challenging incumbent state Senator Norman Sanderson for the state Senate District 2 seat, which includes Craven, Carteret and Pamlico Counties. Barbara Lee is challenging incumbent state Representative Michael Speciale for the state House District 3, which inclues the southern part of Craven County.
By 7 a.m., dozens of voters had cast their ballot. The H.J. MacDonald Middle School voting location is serving two precincts. The Glenburnie precinct's Election Day polling site was damaged during Hurricane Florence, so those voters were transferred to the middle school.
Today was the first time Anna Leith, a registered Republican, has voted in North Carolina. Leith says she and her husband recently moved to New Bern from Kentucky.
“We moved here right before the hurricane, but we made sure to register to vote as soon as we got our address,” Leith said. “We vote in every election that we can.”
Even though Leith is a Republican, she says today she voted for both Democrats and Republicans for state and local office.
The polls will remain open statewide until 7:30 p.m. State elections officials say people waiting in line when the polls close can still cast a ballot.
Public Radio East News and Ideas is offering live national election coverage from NPR and local coverage from PRE’s George Olsen beginning at 8 p.m. Listeners can tune into their radios or stream the broadcast online.