At a time when there’s been some confusion regarding election day procedures, the NC State Board of Elections is offering some tips, knowledge and advice to voters who are planning to hit the polls on Tuesday, March 3.
This week, the board sent out a press release – “Tips for Voting on Election Day” – to get voters up to speed.
Here’s what the state wants voters to know.
Who can vote for whom? If you’re registered with one of the five political parties the state recognizes – Constitution, Democratic, Green, Libertarian, or Republican – you can only cast a ballot in that party’s primary election. On the other hand, if you’re an unaffiliated voter, you can request a Libertarian, Democratic or Republican ballot – or nonpartisan ballot, if available. (Unaffiliated voters may not vote ballots of the Constitution or Green parties, as those parties conduct closed primaries.)
When can you vote? Polls across the state are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. You don’t have to be in the voting booth by that cut off time but you do need to be in line. Voters in line at 7:30 p.m. will be able to cast a ballot.
Vote mid-day to beat the crowds. The state elections board wants you to know that lines tend to be longer before and after normal business hours.
Need to know your polling place? Find your election day polling place at the election board’s website – the one with the easy to remember website name of https://vt.ncsbe.gov/PPLkup/ .
Which contests and candidates are on your ballot? Sample ballots are available through the state board’s “Voter Lookup Tool” at https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/ .
Fill in those choices carefully. Voters will either fill out a paper ballot or use a ballot-marking device that produces a paper record. If you hand-mark a paper ballot, you should completely fill in the oval to the left of each candidate or selection using a black pen. Always verify your selections before inserting your ballot into the tabulator, the state board advises, and make sure you’ve voted on all the pages of the ballot.
Feel free to treat your ballot poorly. The release states, “If you tear, deface or wrongly mark the ballot, you may request a replacement.”
There’s no same-day registration. Same-day registration isn’t available on election day. You can verify your registration status and political party affiliation with the Voter Lookup Tool.
Need help? They have your back. Voters who need assistance at the polls should request that assistance and they will gladly be helped. People unable to enter the polling place may vote curbside. Once inside, voters who experience difficulties should request help from a poll worker.
No ID, no problem. In a December 31, 2019 court order, a federal district court blocked North Carolina’s voter photo ID requirement from taking effect as planned. The injunction will remain in place until further order of the court. (The NC Court of Appeals temporarily blocked the law on February 18, 2020.)
And, finally, behave yourselves! The state elections board is asking that all voters “respect the right of others to participate in the election.” It notes that intimidating another voter is a crime. The board’s release also states that any voters who feel “harassed or intimidated” should notify an election official immediately. To report an election incident to the state board, you can submit it online at https://goo.gl/v1yGew .