1. MAKE SURE YOU ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE. Fill out a voter registration form at your local library or high school. You can also find a voter registration form by visiting www.ncsbe.gov or by calling 888-OUR-VOTE.
2. REGISTRATION DEADLINES FOR VOTING IN 2016:
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 – Primary Election day! Polls open at 6:30 am, close at 7:30 pm; last day to return absentee ballots in person to board of election by 5:00 p.m. or by mail with postmark.
Tuesday, November 8, 2016 – General Election day! Polls open at 6:30 am, close at 7:30 pm; last day to return absentee ballots in person to board of election by 5:00 p.m. or by mail with postmark
3. YOU WILL NEED AN ID TO VOTE IN 2016. Poll workers will start asking voters for their ID beginning in 2016. Voters are REQUIRED to show a government-issued photo ID to vote in the 2016 General Election.
4. ANYONE CAN VOTE BY MAIL. Absentee voting is easy. October 27th – Last day to request an absentee ballot. See “Absentee Voting” at www.ncsbe.gov to get your mail ballot.
5. MARK YOUR CALENDAR AND VOTE EARLY. Find your early voting locations by calling your county election board, listed on the NC Board of Elections website. You must vote at your own precinct on Election Day.
6. HELP STUDENTS NAVIGATE THE VOTING PROCESS. Students should register to vote using either their home address or their school address. Students may wish to vote by mail.
7. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. You do not lose your right to vote if you have a warrant, fine, misdemeanor, or bankruptcy. People with a felony record from any state can register and vote in NC after serving their sentence, including probation or parole. No special document is needed. Register like a new voter.
8. VOTERS CAN ASK FOR HELP. If you have a disability or difficulty reading (due to language or vision), you have the right to assistance from anyone of your choice except your employer or union agent. If the voting room isn’t accessible due to your age or disability, you can vote at the curb in a vehicle or choose to vote by mail.
9. REPORT VOTING PROBLEMS RIGHT AWAY. Any voter can call in to report long lines or voter intimidation. Call 866-OUR-VOTE if you experience any difficulty voting.
The Voter ID bill that passed last session is going to have an impact on this year’s primary and general elections. Some critics have accused the State Board of Elections of rewriting rules on the spot. It will be harder for students and absentee voters to cast ballots. Rules requiring counties to purchase new voting equipment is adding to both the cost of elections and the time it takes to vote. Shorter sessions of early voting will likely lead to longer lines as the voting period has shrunk from 17 to 10 days. The right to vote is the bedrock of our democracy, and therefore, I will continue to work to prevent discrimination against targeted voting populations.
Please also be aware of some additional important changes to North Carolina election laws:
– there is no same day registration and voting
– ballots cast in the wrong precinct will not be counted
– you may no longer vote a straight party ticket
– early voting has been shortened by one week
– ID is required for the 2016 General Election