It was the cheer that did it.
The ripple of applause outside the gym hall entrance of Wake Technical College in Raleigh, North Carolina, at the 8am announcement of “doors open”.
You knew then, if you didn’t before, that this election was different. In this exercise of what is, typically, a routine mundanity in the modern life of a recognised democracy, casting a vote was anything but.
In the words of Doug Brown, it’s exciting. Doug was one of the first to queue up at Wake Tech on the first day of early voting in North Carolina.
He said: “Voting is important and, believe me, after the nightmare that we’ve suffered in this country for the last four years, it’s very important for me to be here.
“I look at the faces and some of the people I’ve talked to this morning and people are just, they’re excited and they’re ready to see some change in this country.”
The United States has seen record numbers of early voters across the country in recent days.
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Fifteen million had cast their ballot before North Carolina opened its polling stations – this, with nearly three weeks to go until the 3 November election.
North Carolina is a key swing state that Donald Trump won in 2016. He is not without his supporters, four years on.
In the voting queue, Jo Acevedo said she was voting against Joe Biden.
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“The vote is very important, because I don’t know exactly how to say it but there’s a lot going on that I’m not happy with.
“And I hope my vote counts to straighten that out and fix it.
“I’m not happy with Joe Biden. I’m not happy with the scandals that are going on with Clinton and Obama and everybody else, I think it’s a disgrace. I believe Donald Trump is still a man for this country.”
Nicole Brown watched the foggy dew rise from neighbouring fields as she sat in a fold-up chair from dawn through to daylight. She had her reasons for queuing early.
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“I think it’s important for people to realise the importance of this vote. I wanted to show my kids what it means to me and how important voting is.
“I didn’t want to wait until the last minute to vote, because I know the lines are going to be extremely long as we progress, and I wanted to go ahead and cast my vote early as possible.”