Out At The Polls: 2018 Midterm Election Day Updates
88.5 WFDD will keep you updated with reports from the polls throughout the day.
Updated 11:20 p.m.
North Carolina voters have approved constitutional amendments that will lock in recent state income tax cuts, expand crime victims' rights and affirm so-called "traditional" methods of hunting and fishing.
An amendment to the state constitution approved on Tuesday caps the maximum state income tax at 7 percent, down from 10 percent. Critics said the result could mean that a recession could lead legislators to raise sales or property taxes or impose cutbacks on education, safety and other government services.
A constitutional change that would expand guarantees to crime victims was approved in exchange for a predicted cost of about $11 million per year.
North Carolinians also approved enshrining hunting and fishing with undefined "traditional methods," but also limited those rights to take wildlife to laws the General Assembly adopts.
Updated 11:05 p.m.
A new constitutional amendment will require North Carolina voters to show a photo ID before being allowed to cast ballots, but legislators will decide later what will count as valid and what won't.
A change to North Carolina's constitution approved Tuesday adds the state to the handful in the country that strictly require showing a photo ID to a poll worker when voting.
Some of the states allow exceptions to the law if people have religious objections to being photographed, are poor, or are granted special confidentiality as domestic abuse or stalking victims. North Carolina lawmakers aren't required to make any exceptions.
Legislators haven't detailed how voters could get the photo ID needed to vote or how much it would cost the state.
Updated 11:00 p.m.
Republican US Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina has been re-elected to the House, defeating Democratic challenger Kathy Manning.
Updated 10:55 p.m.
Democrat Anita Earls has unseated an incumbent to join the North Carolina Supreme Court.
The longtime civil rights lawyer from Durham defeated Associate Justice Barbara Jackson and Raleigh lawyer Chris Anglin on Tuesday.
Earls' victory means Democrats now hold five of the seven seats on the state's highest court. In 2016, Republicans held a 4-3 advantage.
Earls led the Southern Coalition for Social Justice when she helped sue over legislative and congressional districts and challenged a voter ID law.
Jackson and Anglin both ran as Republicans in the officially partisan election, but legislators cancelled party primaries this year, leading to multiple candidates.
Anglin was a registered Democrat but switched parties just before filing. Unhappy GOP lawmakers passed a last-minute law to keep Anglin's Republican label off ballots, but courts threw it out.
Updated 10:15 p.m.
North Carolina has rejected a constitutional amendment that would have permanently given state lawmakers more power over the makeup of a state board that decides election and ethics disputes.
The amendment rejected Tuesday by voters was designed by Republican legislators to create an eight-member Board of Elections and Ethics divided along party lines. Appointments to the board were traditionally overseen by the state's governors before lawmakers began taking steps in the past two years to reduce the governor's role in the process.
Tuesday's vote came after a legal battle between Republican legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper over the board. The state Supreme Court struck down a 2017 law establishing a politically divided eight-member board because it took executive authority from governors.
Voters also rejected a proposal to change the state constitution in ways that would have diminished the governor's authority to fill judicial vacancies.
The amendment also would have allowed replacement judges to stay in their appointed jobs for four years and get established. Judges who fill vacant seats now can serve only until the next election, meaning two years or less.
The change also could have weakened gubernatorial powers because governors wouldn't be able to veto legislation filling a judicial vacancy, giving lawmakers a way to push through new issues.
Both amendments were opposed by all living governors, both Republican and Democrat.
Updated 9:55 p.m.
The Associated Press is calling the following US Congressional races:
All three Democratic incumbents have won - Alma Adams (12th), David Price (4th) and G.K. Butterfield (1st).
At this point six GOP incumbents have won - Walter Jones (3rd, ran unopposed), Patrick McHenry (10th), Mark Meadows (11th), Mark Walker (6th) and Virginia Foxx (5th).
Updated 5:45 p.m.
Officers with the Winston Salem Police Department responded to the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, a local polling station, on a reported disturbance. The disturbance involved Susan Stevens (a local polling volunteer) and Lakeyrah McBride (a local voter). Stevens reported that she was assaulted by McBride. McBride was served with a criminal summons for misdemeanor assault.
Updated 5:25 p.m.
At a meeting today the State Board of Elections considered extensions for a few polling places that had disruptions. Election statutes require a disruption of at least 15 minutes for an extension to be approved.
The biggest extension is in Columbus County’s South Williams precinct. They were approved for a 110 minute extension. Officials say that the precinct was missing a ballot style from 6:30 - 8:20 a.m. this morning.
In addition, a Gaston County precinct received an extension of 20 minutes.
Updated 4:05 p.m.
According to Wake County Board of Elections Director Gary Sims, voting tabulator problems were reported at 15 precincts earlier in the day, with eight still being resolved. In a video of a press conference shared by the News & Observer, he says in addition to the previously reported humidity issue, the ballots’ 17-inch length is also at fault. Wake County expects ballot results by 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night.
Updated 2:00 p.m.
State election officials say the scheduled emergency meeting to discuss extending some voting hours is not unusual. It is in response to disruptions in voting at a handful of precincts across the state. When that happens, county election boards recommend to the state election board that voting be extended for the amount of time it was disrupted for.
One polling place in Columbus County is asking for an additional two hours, so they would be open until 9:30 p.m. There also may be a brief extension for a precinct that lapsed 20 minutes due to a fire alarm, but that is not yet confirmed.
Updated 1:30 p.m.
Patrick Gannon with the North Carolina State Board Elections & Ethics Enforcement says that in addition to Wake County, Forsyth, Greene, and Martin counties are also reporting some instances of ballots being unable to be fed through tabulators. It appears that the ballots themselves are getting damp, due to humidity, before they’re put into the tabulators. He says, “This is the biggest problem we’re dealing with today with elections.”
Gannon offers assurances that these votes will be counted, saying that they are put into a secure emergency bin, and a bipartisan team of precinct officials tabulate them as soon as possible.
Updated 11:55 a.m.
The Bipartisan State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement is holding an emergency meeting at 4:30 p.m. to consider “certain voting hours extensions.” The public can listen to the meeting online or by dialing (631) 992-3221 (code: 179-609-919).
Updated 11:30 a.m.
Some precincts in the WFDD listening are reporting high voter turnout. Matthew Snyder of Watauga County Board of Elections says it’s “very busy for a midterm, almost like a presidential election day.” Stokes County officials say numbers are way ahead of 2014.
There have been reports of precincts in Wake County and other areas that ballots cannot be fed through tabulators. The State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement says this issue is caused by high humidity levels. They’re indicating that procedures are in place for events like this, and all ballots will be counted. In the meantime, the State Board is asking precincts to keep voting areas as cool as possible.