With a few days left in the early voting period, turnout this year has already exceeded prior years in Forsyth County.
About 8,000 county residents have cast their ballots at early voting polling places so far. In 2018, only about 6,000 people cast ballots during the entire early voting period.
Tim Tsuji with the Forsyth County Board of Elections has one explanation.
“We can certainly say that the expansion of hours and dates during the early voting period has somewhat contributed to an increase in turnout,” says Tsuji.
Tsuji says the expansion was prompted by a new state law. In 2018, only one polling place was open during the first week of early voting.
“Whereas this year, we're required by the new law to where we have to open all of our sites starting on the first day of early voting," says Tsuji. "And the hours have to be from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. during the weekdays and hours on the weekends have to be uniform.”
The county has also added a new early voting polling station this year, bringing the total to six. The early voting period ends Saturday at 3 p.m. Voters can also cast their ballots on election day, May 17 from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
A list of polling places can be found on the Forsyth County Board of Elections website.