Mecklenburg County Board of Elections Director Michael Dickerson estimates that 40 percent of voters casting a ballot this fall will do so by voting early. Early voting starts Thursday at the Hal Marshall Annex and on Monday at 15 other locations throughout the county before ending on Saturday, Oct. 30. The presidential election of 2008 was the first time more people voted early than on Election Day in Mecklenburg County. “Voters truly appreciate the option of having an extended voting period rather than a single day,” Dickerson says. “It also helps us report results sooner on election night.” The Board of Elections will use social media to help direct voters to early voting locations with the shortest lines. The BOE is partnering with the County’s Public Service and Information Department to post real-time reports weekdays throughout the early voting period. Voters planning to use the early option are encouraged to follow @MeckCounty and watch for Twitter hashtag #earlyvote. Those who prefer Facebook should friendMecklenburg County. Workers at each early voting location will report regularly on high or low traffic patterns in order to help direct people to places with the shortest lines. The list of early voting locations and hours along with other details about early voting, candidates, precinct locations and much more can be found at www.meckboe.org.