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Last day of early voting is Saturday in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County

Last day of early voting is Saturday in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County

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Anyone who's not registered to vote has only two days to cast a vote in the 2020 election.

More than half of Forsyth County's registered voters have already cast their ballots, and many more will do so on Tuesday, Election Day.

But the clock runs out on early voting at 3 p.m. on Saturday, and that means the chance to both register and vote will end at the same time.

Early voting takes place from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Tim Tsujii, the director of elections here, had another message anyone who is voting by mail needs to heed: 

"Any voter who wants to return an absentee ballot is not allowed to return it to a polling place on Election Day," Tsujii said.

The county has been accepting absentee ballots at the early-voting sites, but when early voting ends, people either have to make sure their absentee ballot is postmarked on or before Election Day, or deliver it by hand to the central elections office in the Forsyth County Government Center by 5 p.m. on Election Day.

Even if postmarked in time, the ballot still has to make it to the elections office by 5 p.m. on Nov. 12 to be counted.

Figures from the local election board show that more than 3,500 people have both registered and cast their ballots during early voting — more than 200 people a day.

As of Thursday night, slightly more than 150,000 Forsyth County voters had cast their ballots, according to the county elections board. That’s a turnout of about 56%. The total includes some 38,000 absentee ballots mailed in, along with around 113,000 people voting early at 17 locations around the county.

The highest early-voting totals have been recorded in Kernersville (11,540), Clemmons (10,403) and Harper Hill Commons (10,203).

Democrats have cast about 42% of the vote so far, including both absentees and early votes, while Republicans have contributed around 30% to the total. Unaffiliated voters have so far made up about 28% of the electorate.

Democrats make up 39% of the county’s registered voters, Republicans make up 28%, and unaffiliated voters 32%.

If you do vote early, you can avoid the lines by checking the county's map of early voting wait times at the various locations.

The map is on the web page of the Forsyth County Board of Elections: www.forsyth.cc/Elections.

Some early voting sites are consistently more popular than others, so you may be able to avoid a line by simply going to one of the less-popular sites. It doesn't matter where in the county you vote during early voting.

Although the county has 17 places to vote early, fully one in 10 of the county's early voters have cast their ballots in Kernersville. Almost as many have voted in Clemmons and at Harper Hill Commons near the corner of Country Club and Peace Haven Roads.

In those three polling places, it is typical to see 700 to 900 people a day casting ballots on weekdays.

By contrast, fewer than 200 people a day have been casting ballots on recent weekdays at Sprague Street Recreation Center and at Winston Lake Family YMCA.

Anyone who does want to register and vote during these next two days needs to do a little preparation:

  • You'll fill out a registration application form.
  • You'll have to prove who you are: You can show a state driver's license or other photo identification issued by a government agency, as long as it includes your address. Or, you can show a university ID, or a copy of a bank statement, utility bill, paycheck or some other document showing the voter's name and address.

336-727-7369 

@wyoungWSJ

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