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Today's voting could set a record  (NC)

DAVID NIVENS    The High Point Enterprise   01 November 2008

GUILFORD COUNTY - If trends hold, early voting could end today with the largest single-day turnout ever.

More than 15,000 people voted Thursday in Guilford County to bring the total to 118,368 voters since early voting began in mid-October, breaking the previous record of 77,857 set in 2004.

"I expect we will be very busy on (today)," Elections Director George Gilbert said Friday. "The lines started getting longer again."

Many Triad voters have waited in lines for as long as three hours. Elections officials have added machines at the busiest sites to reduce lines.

"We have deployed all the machines we had set up for early voting. There will be no more for (today)," Gilbert said.

Gilbert has estimated that as many as 150,000 voters could cast ballots by Election Day from as many as 19 voting sites.

Elections officials extended voting until 5 p.m. today at the request of state officials to handle the record turnout. Republican Kathryn Lindley was the only local elections board member on Tuesday to vote against the Democrats' request to extend hours.

Despite renewed complaints Friday of problems with touch-screen voting machines, Gilbert again said no voter has lost a vote because of machine problems.

Lindley reported that three more voters told Guilford County GOP Chairman Bill Wright that machines switched presidential votes at Pleasant Garden Town Hall and Friendly Center in Greensboro. With help, voters corrected their ballots.

The elections board declined Oct. 24 to calibrate every machine every day as Wright suggested.

"Those machines may have changed other votes," Lindley said.

Experts blame the switches on machine calibration problems or on voters touching the wrong spots.

"All of the machines are calibrated," Gilbert said.

About 40 percent of voters statewide use iVotronic touch-screen machines.

"The problem is the person touching the machine," said Democratic elections board member T.J. Warren.

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