What to know before you vote: NC has new rules

cjarvis@newsobserver.comMay 4, 2014 

Kathie and Tom Bell of Cary arrive at the Herbert C. Young Community Center in Cary to cast their ballots on the third day of early voting.

COREY LOWENSTEIN — clowenst@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

The final tally is in: More people cast early ballots for Tuesday’s primary than they did in the last mid-term elections, in 2010.

The count, released Sunday by the state Board of Elections, shows 268,298 early votes. Most of that – 258,780 – was one-stop voting. The 2010 total was 172,972.

There were fewer days to vote early this year, because of a new law. But that obviously didn’t slow things down.

The party breakdown shows Democrats voted in higher numbers than the statewide percentage of people registered in that party: 47.8 percent of the early ballots cast were by registered Democrats; 42 percent of the registered voters are Democrats.

Votes by registered Republicans came in at 33.3 percent, and those unaffiliated accounted for 18.8 percent.

But with 6.5 million registered voters in the state, there are plenty more who should get to the polls on Tuesday.

Here’s what you need to know to vote:

• Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. If you’re in line by 7:30 p.m., you will be allowed to vote.

• You do not need a photo ID to vote. You will be asked if you have one and if you don’t, you’ll be asked to sign a declaration acknowledging the photo ID requirement and that you don’t meet it. County boards of elections workers will provide you with information on how to get a free ID.

The one exception: If you’re a new voter in a county, you may need to show an ID if the driver’s license or Social Security number listed on your registration form can’t be verified. If that happens, you can show a photo ID or one of the following items that contains your name and current address: a utility bill, bank or bank-card statement, payroll stub or any government document such as a license or bill.

• You can’t vote a straight ticket. In the past, you could mark a single space and support all the candidates of one party with the exception of the president and some nonpartisan races.

• You can’t use a cell phone or have a camera inside your polling place. If you need a little help remembering who to vote for, write your list on a piece of paper. That’s allowed as long as you don’t show it to anyone else once you’re inside the “no campaigning zone.”

• If you are registered unaffiliated, you can choose either a Democratic, Republican or Libertarian ballot. Your choice of ballot in the primary does not affect your choices in November.

• If you are not registered to vote, you cannot register on Election Day. To vote in the Nov. 4 general election, you must register by Oct. 10.

• In addition to the U.S. Senate race, there is a statewide race for the state Supreme Court. Be sure to check both sides of your ballot to make sure you vote in all races.

• Some races are nonpartisan and some judicial and municipal races allow you to vote for more than one candidate. Be sure to read the instructions for each race before voting.

• If you make a mistake on your ballot, you may ask for a new one. The “spoiled” one will not be counted.

• Find an online voters guide and look up your precinct at newsobserver.com/elections. You can also find a sample ballot for your precinct at www.ncsbe.gov

Staff writer Mary Cornatzer contributed


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