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Although Sunday voting tilts left, turnout is light

Henderson County’s first-ever Sunday voting attracted a Democratic-leaning turnout of 672 voters, a total that was less than the daily average for one-stop voting so far this election.

The Henderson County Board of Elections had voted 3-1 against Sunday voting but rules imposed by the state Board of Elections require a unanimous vote. At the next level, the state board required the county to offer early voting on Sunday. This past Sunday was the only Sunday it was open.
Republicans have resisted Sunday voting, saying that day should be set aside for church and family and fearing that politically active African-American churches would use the opportunity to push congregants to the polls. After the state board overruled the local board, the Henderson County Board of Commissioners threatened to defund Sunday voting before deciding instead to write a letter of protest to the state board.
A total of 672 voters cast ballots on Sunday — 332 Democrats, 98 Republicans, 240 independents and two Libertarians. The racial breakdown included 73 black voters and 564 white voters. There were 367 women and 291 men. Through Monday overall, the breakdown by party was 2,100 Democrats, 3,087 Republicans and 3,075 unaffiliated voters.
Melinda Lowrance, president of the Henderson County NAACP branch, said black churches pushed for Sunday voting and continue to work on get out the vote efforts.
Elections Director Beverly Cunningham said there was no discernible organized effort.
There were “no buses,” she said. “Jay Egolf brought a few people in a van but that was about it.”
Through Wednesday night, the Henderson County site remained the busiest polling place in the state, having logged 12,095 voters, the Vote Tracker site of the Civitas Institute reported. A big reason is the drop in the number of sites from five to one. This year the county Board of Elections eliminated one-stop sites in Etowah, Flat Rock, Fletcher and Edneyville, channeling all the early voters to a single polling place. Even so, the overall number indicates a strong start for the early voting. The total number of voters after eight days, 12,095, was roughly three quarters the total number of one-stop voters in 2014, the last mid-term election, at 16,997. As of Wednesday, there had been eight days of early voting with nine days to go.

One-stop voting is at the Board of Elections office, 75 East Central Street (off Spartanburg Highway behind O’Reilly Auto Parts). Hours are 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, through Saturday, Oct. 27; 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, through Friday, Nov. 2; 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3. Information: 828-697-4970.