Early voting leading up to the May 8 primary election has surged across North Carolina, driven by intense interest in the so-called marriage amendment.
Turnout is on a pace to exceed that of any primary election since the state implemented one-stop voting in 2000.
The first week of one-stop voting has even surpassed the first week in the presidential primary election of 2008 between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, which drew 102,815 votes. As of noon Friday, 114,243 one-stop votes had been cast. Including mail-in ballots, 121,545 people have voted since the 17-day one-stop period began April 19.
With the Republican presidential nominee no longer an issue, the driving force behind the turnout is the proposed amendment to the state constitution banning legal recognition of same-sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships.
The turnout, although big, so far only represents about 2 percent of the registered voters, so it's not exactly a predictor of the outcome. Also, based on past elections, there will be a flood of early voting leading up to the final day, May 5. In 2008, 70 percent of the early votes were cast in the final six days.