With a little over two weeks to go until Election Day, many people are starting to see the light at the end of what has felt like a very noisy election season. But, as everyone starts to countdown the days until political ads cease- for those in the industry, the sprint to the finish line has only just begun.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, early voting rates in North Carolina have sky-rocketed as people learned their only voting option wasn’t necessarily waiting in a line on the first Tuesday of November. According to the North Carolina State Board of Elections, North Carolina experienced close to a 10% increase in early voting rates when comparing the 2008 and 2012 elections, to the more recent 2016 and 2020 general elections. At a first glance, one would think that early voting was relatively new to the scene- when in fact it’s been around since the late 1970’s.
Since its creation, early voting was instated to give North Carolina voters a choice. More specifically, legislators in the 70’s wanted to give non-traditional voters an alternative when it came to how they cast their ballot- allowing frequent travelers, people with disabilities and older voters more opportunities.
So why has early voting just now become more popular? The answer is simple, good messaging.
Political campaigns haven’t looked the same since the 2008 election cycle, thanks to social media. Across the United States, social media has become one of the most-used mediums of communication, reimagining what voter contact looks like in a modern world. As we approach the first week of November, you will notice campaigns sharing content that encourages people to not only get out to vote, but informing them of how they can do so. Although the constant content will overwhelm Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds across the state, you can’t help but be inspired to share it.
For some, those two weeks leading up to Election Day signal that campaign season is (finally) coming to an end. But for those in our industry, it’s a cue to start encouraging voters to make a plan to vote and educating them on the many options they have.