NC elections board extends early voting hours

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The State Board of Elections has ordered all 100 counties in North Carolina to keep early voting sites open for an extra four hours this weekend unless local officials unanimously decide it is unnecessary.

In an emergency meeting Thursday, the board unanimously agreed to extend Saturday early voting hours to 5 p.m. The meeting came after Mecklenburg and Guilford counties sought permission to keep the sites from closing at 1 p.m. as scheduled.

The decision to alter the early voting highlights the remarkable turnout and long lines seen across the surprise swing state since early voting began two weeks ago.

More than 1.7 million people -- or 30 percent of registered voters -- cast a ballot at one-stop sites through Wednesday night.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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