>>Voting in North Carolina has never been a more tumultuous proposition. Laws have changed, the federal government has called for redistricting, candidates are in flux. Despite all this chaos. the polls are open. Here’s a bit of what you need to know about voting this year in NC.
- Bring ID. A recent law passed in our state requires that voters show ID. A voter without ID should still be allowed to cast a provisional ballot, but IDs are needed for regular voting, even early voting. >>Valid forms of ID include drivers’ license, current passport, military or veterans ID, or tribal enrollment card. Voters without photo identification will sign a form stating they don’t have ID and will be asked to provide extra information such as a utility bill and the last four digits of their Social Security number.
- If you haven’t registered yet, early voting is the only way you can vote in the primary. >>Registration ended in February for the March 15 primary, but during early voting, unregistered voters can sign up and vote on the same day. Early voting is March 3- March 12. Also, anyone who will be 18 years of age by the November general election can vote in this March’s primary.
- Unaffiliated voters can vote in any race. Those registered with a party can only select from their party’s candidates in the presidential primary and other partisan races. Unaffiliated voters must choose which ballot they want, but have no limits on which they select.
- It’s more than people. Voters are also choosing whether or not to pass a $2 billion bond referendum. >>The bond would fund infrastructure for colleges and universities as well as improvements to water systems and parks. This measure has bipartisan support, and backers claim it will not increase NC’s taxes. Some critics say the bond doesn’t cover enough, while others question if the state can pay back the debt without increasing taxpayer costs. Those who only want to vote for the bond, and not presidential candidates, can request a special ballot for just this issue.
- Congressional races will be on the ballot, but these votes may not count. The federal government has charged NC with redrawing congressional districts, as the previous ones were ruled to be gerrymandered. Some candidates now live outside the districts they represent. Many voters– especially those in central NC– might have ballots for races that are no longer in their district. The primary for these races will be June 7, but voting watchdogs say to mark ballots this month for preferred candidates just in case.
I have to admit, I love voting on election day, and often hold out until then, even though I know voting early means nothing — no car wreck, snow storm, or illness — will get in the way of my ballot making a difference. Do you vote early? Let us know if you’ve already cast your ballot by posting a picture of your “I voted” sticker on our Facebook page. >>Click here to find your early voting location.