North Carolina Republicans turned out at a slightly higher rate than did Democrats in the November election, according to a new survey of turnout figures.
The Republicans turned out 73 percent, while Democrats turned out at 70 percent, according to Democracy North Carolina, a Durham-based election reform group.
The two groups with the most enthusiasm were African-American women and white Republicans who both voted at a 74 percent, well ahead of the 68 percent rate.
“The presidential election was a polarizing, emotional experience for core supporters of both major candidates,” Bob Hall, the group's executive director. “Candidates, parties and interest groups invested in mobilizing voters and helped them understand that their vote was important for themselves and for society.''
More women then men voted in every single county. Seniors over age 65 outnumbered young voters ages 18-25 in all but four counties each with major universities – Orange, Watauga, Pitt and Durham.
The county with the highest turnout was Chatham with 76 percent. The county with the lowest turnout was military-dependent Onslow, with 53 percent.
Hall said the split results in the 10 counties with the highest turnout reflects North Carolina's swing state status: Five went for Republican Mitt Romney (Davie, Person, Moore, Green and Beaufort) and five went for Democrat Barack Obama (Chatham, Warren, Wake, Granville and Hertford.)
The impact of the criminal justice system was evident. Women cast 54 percent of the white vote but 61 percent of the black vote because so many black men had been convicted of a felony and many people believe the voter suspension is permanent, Hall said.