Early voting in North Carolina’s primary elections begins Thursday and will last until March 12. The primary itself, for all races except the congressional seats, will then be held March 15.
The March primary will decide who makes it to the Nov. 8 general election in races for president, governor, U.S. Senate, General Assembly, attorney general, lieutenant governor and other state and local contests. Voters will also cast ballots in the primary in a $2 billion bond referendum.
Since a court decision led the state to redraw maps for North Carolina’s 13 U.S. House of Representatives districts, the primary for those has been postponed to June 7, pending legal challenges. Early voting for that primary will be May 26 to June 4.
Those congressional races will still be listed on the March 15 ballots, but those votes alone probably won’t count. If a federal court ruling stands, congressional candidates will have to re-file to run for seats in the new districts, and some may switch races. That filing period will end March 25.
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However, the State Board of Elections is asking people to go ahead and vote in every race in March’s primary – even the U.S. House races – as a precaution.
“First off, nothing is set in stone right now,” said Jackie Hyland, the board spokeswoman. “And we also want to avoid any confusion.”
When do I need to register to vote?
If you haven’t already registered to vote, you can vote during the early voting period using same-day registration. But you won’t be able to cast a ballot on March 15, since the registration deadline for voting on primary day has already passed.
Although a 2013 state law eliminated same-day registration, it’s still legal during early voting, pending an ongoing court case.
A new voter registration period will begin March 16, Hyland said, in advance of the next primary.
Where do I vote?
To find your polling place, look up your address at http://vt.ncsbe.gov/pollingplace_search/ or inquire with your county’s board of elections.
People can vote at any open polling place in their county during early voting. In some counties only one or two sites might be open. Wake County has nine. If you vote on March 15, you must go to your assigned precinct.
Click on the following links to find the early voting sites in Wake, Durham, Orange, Chatham and Johnston counties. Voters in all counties can also find early votings sites at http://vt.ncsbe.gov/OS_Sites.
What about voter ID?
Anyone who shows up to vote without photo identification will be able to cast a provisional ballot.
For more information, see nando.com/voterid.
What options do unaffiliated voters have in a primary?
Members of a political party must vote in their party’s primary, but unaffiliated voters may choose which party’s primary to vote in. More than a quarter of North Carolina’s 6.5 million voters are registered as unaffiliated.
Doran: 919-386-2858; @will_doran