So far, as of 9-20-16, 54,098 mail-in ballots have been requested, with 2,939 ballots returned and accepted as ballots for the general election.
Of the ballots returned and accepted so far:
Compared to the same day four years ago, total ballots accepted are 110 percent, with registered Democrats at 129 percent, registered unaffiliated voters at 142, and registered Republicans at 82 percent of where their numbers were in 2012.
An interesting aspect in comparing this year's numbers against the 2012 trend: at this point, registered Republicans took the lead in mail-in accepted ballots and held that lead up to Election Day. This year, registered Democrats still have the lead, by a little over 200 accepted mail-in ballots.
Updated & reminder: just because 'registered Democrats' seem to be leading does not equate to straight Democratic voters. North Carolina still has an undetermined amount of old-line Southern conservative Democrats who may still be registered with the party, but likely are Republican voters at the ballot box. If I had to hypothesize, then I would say that group is within the Silent/Greatest generation and the older Baby Boomer generation; I would surmise that those Gen Xers and Millennials who register with a party affiliation are truer supporters of that party allegiance, while those who are registering 'unaffiliated' tend to be 'independent but leaners' per national surveys and research on independents.
Of the over 50,000 outstanding ballots, the division between registered party affiliation is: