5+ mi away

1-5 mi away

No change

1-5 mi closer

5+ mi closer

Sources: North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, Openrouteservice, U.S. Office of Management & Budget, North Carolina Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau. Maps courtesy of Mapbox Community.

How North Carolina’s Early Voting Changes Affect Voters

Residents of poor and rural counties have to drive farther than others to get to the polls during early balloting. Our map lets you explore the data.

When a North Carolina law changed early voting rules to require each county to open and close all of their polling locations at the same times, opponents worried the move would be a heavy burden for cash-strapped counties. According to a detailed analysis of early voting locations conducted by WRAL News in Raleigh, the law’s critics were onto something.

Across North Carolina, only 70 out of 100 counties changed their early voting locations to comply with the law, and most voters in those counties didn't see much of a change in the length of their drive to the polls. But WRAL’s analysis found voters in poor and rural counties are disproportionately affected by the law. Rural voters are now farther away from their nearest early voting location in 2018 than they were in 2014, compared with voters in urban and wealthier counties. White and Republican voters appear to be affected more than members of other parties and racial groups.

This year, ProPublica contacted more than two dozen county election officials regarding the new uniform hour requirements. None were in favor of the law, and many argued it would decrease access.

In conjunction with WRAL News, a partner in ProPublica’s Electionland project, we mapped how much farther early voters in these 70 North Carolina counties will have to drive to cast their ballots.

Read more at WRAL: Early voting changes hit NC rural voters hardest, analysis shows. But will it matter in 2018?

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