GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — The number of people voting early could break records this year.

Across the country, more than 3.5 million people have already cast ballots. Experts are predicting this year’s numbers will be higher than the last midterm election in 2018.

On the first day of voting in Guilford County, a little more than 6,200 voters cast a ballot. That’s about 100 more than the turnout four years ago.

About 100,000 people voted during the early voting period in 2018. At this rate, Guilford County is on track to top that.

“I wanted to vote on the first day so I could come down here and get an understanding of some things,” said Satoya Smalls, a Guilford County voter. “I also wanted to come and make sure that I got in before the lines got too long.”

Thousands of voters came to the 15 polling locations across Guilford County on the first day of early voting.

“It’s nice to get it done early so you don’t have to think about it later,” said Tim Hall, who voted at Bur-Mil Club.

One of the big things driving people to the polls is the tight race between Republican Ted Budd and Democrat Cheri Beasley for North Carolina’s U.S. Senate seat.

“I think so many people focus on presidential elections, but this has got a lot of stuff too,” said Charlie Collicutt, director of the Guilford County Board of Elections. “They may not be president but there are a lot of candidates that will affect your life.”

Collicutt said we’re not only seeing a big turnout at the polls. Absentee ballots are becoming a popular alternative to in-person voting.

“We’re seeing higher trends there than what we’ve ever done in a midterm election,” he said. “We’ve gotten back over 2,000 ballots at this point. We mailed out about 10,000.”

Collicutt predicts it will become more and more common to vote by mail. But some people like filling out their ballots and physically putting them in the voting machine.

“Coming in person you know what you’re putting down, you know you’re getting it in and you don’t have to worry about it getting lost or anything,” said Smalls.

No matter which way you choose, Guilford County voters are encouraging you to let your voice be heard.

“All elections are important and if you ever get a chance to go out and vote, please go out and vote,” said Smalls.

Collicutt said that even though there was a record turnout Thursday, there weren’t any long lines. He recommends coming sooner, rather than later if you want to avoid a wait.

During early voting, you can go to any polling place in the county. If you wait until Election Day, November 8th, you have to vote at your assigned location.