Voter turnout increases 4 percent

Voter turnout for Tuesday's midterm election increased from the last midterm election four years ago.
About 40 percent of registered voters cast ballots in Tuesday's midterm election, which increased from 36 percent in the 2006 midterm election.
"There was a lot of interest in this election, so that helped turnout," said Larry Brewer, Catawba County Board of Elections director. "I thought it went very well."
Voters cast 41,686 ballots in the election, which is 40.47 percent of the county's 103,003 registered voters.
Of those voters, about 27 percent chose a straight Republican party ticket. Those votes translated into a big win for the Catawba County GOP, with Republicans sweeping races for Catawba County sheriff, District Attorney and the Catawba County Board of Commissioners.
About 12 percent of voters cast a straight Democrat ballot, and less than 1 percent cast straight Libertarian ballots.
Tuesday's midterm election participation showed a decrease in turnout from the 2008 presidential election by about 27 percent. More than 70,000 people cast ballots in the 2008 election, which is a 67 percent turnout.
Brewer said this decrease was to be expected because of the interest and publicity of the 2008 presidential election.
Only minor glitches occurred on Election Day when voters went to the wrong precinct to cast their ballots, Brewer said. Although voters can arrive at any polling location during one-stop voting, they must vote at their assigned precinct on Election Day.
The county has 41 voting precincts throughout the county, and 40 operated during Tuesday's election.
More than 15,600 people voted early, but majority of people chose to cast their ballots on Election Day.
Brewer said most precincts experience little to no waiting in line, with peak times on Election Day at lunch time and shortly after 5 p.m.
The Board of Elections received about 800 mail-in ballots for this election, and absentee ballots are accepted until Friday.
These votes, however, most likely won't be enough to change the outcome of county election, Brewer said.
The Catawba County Schools Board of Education race was close among all six candidates, with about 4,200 votes separating the top voter-getter, Charlie C. Wyant, from the lowest vote-getter, Andy Denny.
The difference, though close, isn't enough to warrant a recount, Brewer said.
Gov. Bev Perdue was quick to remind voters not to expect immediate change following Tuesday's election.
"I want to congratulate the candidates who won (Tuesday) night," Perdue said Wednesday in a statement. "(Tuesday) morning we woke up to new leaders in the legislature, but we all still face the same economic challenges that voters responded to (Tuesday). I believe the General Assembly leadership will join me in my continuing efforts to grow jobs for North Carolinians, to set government straight and to invest in the education of our future workforce. I look forward to working with them toward those goals."