Today, 15 electoral votes are up for grabs in the deadlocked state of North Carolina. After a narrow 14,000 vote difference that turned the state blue in 2008, President Obama will see if he can clinch another win. The state has generally remained a Republican stronghold, with 2008 marking the first time since 1976 that North Carolina backed a Democrat for president.
As of Saturday, a record 2.55 million North Carolinians had gone out for early voting, exceeding the record 2.4 million total in 2008. Of these, 48% were registered Democrats and 32% were registered Republicans.
If Obama can hold onto this lead and get out the vote on Election Day, North Carolina would be seeing a continuing shift blue. But if Governor Romney can dominate the Election Day vote, just as McCain did over Obama in 2008, Romney will turn the state red.
Of the more than 6.6 million registered voters, close to 39% participated in early voting. State Board of Elections Executive Director predicts overall voter turnout will hover around 69%. But a lot is at stake in North Carolina this election season from Obama vs. Romney to gubernatorial candidates McCrory (R) v Dalton (D). We're in for a ride!
PolicyMic will be covering the election live from North Carolina. Bookmark and refresh this page throughout the day for all the latest developments.
10:56PM - AP calls North Carolina for Romney
10:55PM - Some Tar Heel fans support their football running back, Giovanni Bernard, for President
10:47PM - Not as close as 14,000 vote difference in 2008, but the results are still within 82K votes.
10:01PM - Romney up 124K votes with 83% in. FOX News has recognized an obvious divide in state voting patterns:
"North Carolina is traditional but you can't ignore the power of those college kids. You can't stop them. They're small, but Chapel Hill and Durham are like a whole other state."
And pair that stat with the exit polls for Millennials and you've got a pretty strong statement in favor of the Democrats with this age range.
9:38PM - With 76% in, still remains too close to call with a 92K vote difference in favor of Romney (1.79M) over Obama (1.69M)
9:05PM - Pat McCrory (R) wins the gubernatorial race. "What we need to do as individuals is make sure we all fulfill our potential. We need to exceed our potential - every one of us. Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for a Carolina comeback."
8:34PM - With McCrory (R) leading Dalton (D) in the gubernatorial race, it will definitely be an interesting time for higher education, budget and state policy moving forward.
8:02PM - Interesting statistics coming out of NC per exit polls: Among Millennials, Obama has huge lead over Romney (67% - 30%); Margin slims to 50% Obama to 49% Romney among NC voters ages 50-64 years.
7:56PM - Obama leads Romney by just under 35K votes, close to the same margin that McCrory (R) leads Dalton (D) in the gubernatorial race.
7:45PM - With 8% in, Obama has an early lead over Romney, but there is still lots of time and way too early to call anything.
7:30PM - And the polls are closed... now we wait. CNN exit polls show a dead heat 49 Obama / 49 Romney - too close to call.
5:50PM - Exit polling data from the Nationall Election Pool showed 59% of North Carolina voters said economy was the most important issue faced the country. The polling data comes from a consortium of news organizations. This isn't really new information - unemployment in the state was 9.6% in Sept 2012, down from 11.4% in Feb 2010.
3:35PM - There are no specific details or facts about voter intimidation tactics.
3:19PM - With just over 4 hours of voting left, few reports about voter suppression and voting errors have surfaced. Some touch screen voting machines have been reported to cast the wrong ballots. Guilford County Register of Deeds George Gilbert emphasized the importance of reviewing choices before leaving the voting booth. “There are three times to check your vote,” said Gilbert. “If you vote and never look at the screen, we can’t help you.”
1:18PM - Voters are taking to Twitter to express concern about voter intimidation tactics, but no specifics have yet to surface.