f North Carolina’s early voting is any indication, today’s Election Day turnout will be significant. Some credit Get Out the Vote efforts, including door-to-door canvassing and poll parties, with energizing citizens.
More than 70 “see-you-at-the-polls” parties are planned for Tuesday. The North Carolina collective of nonpartisan groups known as Vote Together wanted to make midterm voting an enjoyable experience, as Fiaunna Shivers explained.
“And the whole idea of these poll parties is to make voting fun again, increase voter turnout and also drive younger people out to the polls,” Shivers said. “People take midterm elections for granted, and they are actually the elections that hold the most power within our communities, and we want people to understand that.”
Shivers is with the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, a group that’s part of Vote Together. The state has seen more than 170 on-site celebrations.
Voter turnout is climbing among young people in immigrant communities, according to a report from the Institute for Southern Studies and NC Asian Americans Together. First-generation college students are playing a key role, said Vishaal Pillai of the Asian Student Association at North Carolina State University.
“So, the polarizing of politicians currently in power, there’s a big divide – like, a lot of younger people feel resentment towards the older people, or the baby boomers currently in power,” Pillai said. “So immigration is obviously a big topic that hits home for us.”
At the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, students are hosting Election Day parties to make voting a campus-wide celebration. The gatherings will feature balloons, lawn games, free food and live music.
Julie Meyer, a voter from rural North Carolina, hosted her own Get Out the Vote party. She worked with local candidates to sponsor early voting events, but said she’ll wait to cast her ballot on Election Day.
“It’s just something that I’ve always done and I enjoy voting on Election Day; it’s just the important day for me to vote,” Meyer said. “We all have a responsibility, we have that right to vote, and I think it’s important to exercise that right.”
Polls across North Carolina are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in about 2,700 precincts statewide.