A new report finds a "striking surge" in absentee mail-in ballot requests in North Carolina. Analysts say this parallels nationwide concerns about voting during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The report says that as many as four in 10 residents might vote by mail in the November election, which could amount to over 1.5 million absentee ballots being cast.

According to the findings, that amounts to 10 times the usual amount of mail-in ballots.

The numbers were compiled by Michael Bitzer, a political scientist at Catawba College.

Bitzer tells The News & Observer that while analysts were expecting a run-up in mail-in ballots, no one anticipated such a huge swell.

This comes on the heels of a new state law that allows voters to request absentee ballots online and reduces the number of required witnesses from two to one.

Several lawsuits in the state are seeking to make voting-by-mail even more accessible.

Bitzer says the uptick in absentee ballot requests has likely been fueled by people who don't want to stand in line to vote during the pandemic.

Absentee ballots will start being mailed out on September 4th. 

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here. WFDD wants to hear your stories — connect with us and let us know what you're experiencing.

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