As I write this, it's just past six o'clock in North Carolina. The polls close here at 7:30 p.m. and the exit polls are starting to take shape. Latest polls show uncertain trends, as 1 in 4 voters report being satisfied with President Obama; Romney maintained a slight lead in pre-election polls. A Raleigh TV station is reporting that at one precinct in Cumberland County (home of Fayetteville and Ft. Bragg) they have seen a 60% voter turnout, which is higher than 2004. One possible explanation could be that most of Ft. Bragg's soldiers are home this year for the first time since 2000, but it's hard to know who benefits most from that.
Early voting throughout the state has been huge.
When I voted on Friday, November 2, there were nearly one hundred voters waiting, along with a good representation of candidates and surrogates working the line. The consensus of the voters I asked was that the presidential election had gotten ugly, but North Carolina's state-wide offices were even worse. The volume of mail was, by my unofficial estimate, three or four times greater than 2004. I was spared the blast of robo-calls that many people complained about because I no longer have a land-line, but those people who would talk about it unanimously told me they couldn’t wait to have this election season behind them.
There has been significant evidence of the Obama camp working hard to get out the vote. An Obama door-knocker visited me early in the day today to ask for support. There was no evidence of the Romney campaign doing any proactive GOTV effort, perhaps because Obama’s supporters are younger and more energetic, or perhaps because Romney expects he did not need that level of effort in North Carolina, which was a solid Republican state in the last presidential election.
When I was in Washington, D.C. over the weekend, I couldn’t help but notice a large number of GOTV volunteers working throughout the D.C. suburbs. My son introduced his seven-year-old daughter to the process, knocking on doors in Woodbridge, VA.
It’s very heartening to me to see young people involved in the electoral process. It is, after all, they who will be most affected by the outcomes.