Are You Ready to Vote?
Voting is just around the corner and uncertainty dominates the news. Will we be able to vote safely in person? Will some precincts be closed? Will there be long lines? What if I want to vote by mail?
North Carolina will have a long ballot this fall, with races ranging from city/county to state to federal. The presidential election is attracting the most attention, but Congress, the NC General Assembly and Governorship, as well as statewide and local offices such as judges and school boards affect our everyday lives just as much.
There is a lot to learn this year about how to cast a ballot. We at Carolina Jews for Justice want you to have all the information you need. So here are some of the basics, followed by a list of where to find more information!
Important Dates and Deadlines:
- Deadline for voter registration is October 9, but you can also register or update your registration in person during Early Voting.
- Early voting (October 15-31)
- Election Day (November 3 from 6:30 am – 7:30 pm)
Vote by absentee ballot (also known as vote by mail).
- Deadline to request an absentee ballot is October 27 at 5 pm.
- Deadline to return ballot: Postmarked by November 3rd and must arrive by mail by Friday, November 6th.
- As of 7/18/20, no photo ID is required to vote. Although this is unlikely to change, there are two court cases in process, so check to be sure this is true at the time of the election!
- If this is your first time voting and you are voting in person and you didn’t include your NC driver’s license number or the last four digits of your social security number when registering, you will need to bring some proof of identification with your address, such as a utility bill.
- Utilize You Can Vote for information and links for everything you need for voting. Click here
- We also urge you to sign the “Pledge to Vote” on the You Can Vote website. More than just a commitment to vote, pledging provides you access to information and support to make sure you are registered, have access to an absentee ballot, and know where to vote during Early Voting and on Election Day. You Can Vote is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization based in Durham but with statewide reach.
Here’s a breakdown for each step in the voting process and how to find information. When in doubt, go to the website of your local Board of Election. The information provided here is just an overview.
You can register or update your registration with You Can Vote! Click here.
- Check to be sure you’re registered at the State Board of Elections website: You can check your registration, and if you’re registered, you can find information about your polling place for Election Day.
- Register to vote and update your registration if you have moved or changed your name since you last voted. If you have a NC drivers’ license or other DMV-issued identification, you can do this online.
- Note: If you can not register online, you can request a voter registration form from your local Board of Election or download the form here. Alternatively, You Can Vote helps make it easy — click here and follow the prompts. Once you complete the voter registration form, You Can Vote will send you the form to sign and a stamped envelope with your Board of Elections address on it to mail in to your county board.
- You can register during Early Voting through same-day registration. Just go to an Early Voting site to register and cast your ballot.
Voting by Mail (Absentee Ballots)
Given all the uncertainties about what November will look like, many voting rights groups are urging people to request an absentee ballot. If you decide later to vote in person, you do not need to use the absentee ballot.
- For general information through the State Board of Elections, click here. You Can Vote provides easy to follow information and links for the whole process here.
- To request an absentee ballot: fill out and mail, fax, or email a completed application. Around September 1, it will be possible to request an absentee ballot online. Before September 1, you can find the form here. Alternatively, you may contact your local county Board of Election to get a copy of the request form. Here is contact information for every county.
- Your local Board of Election mails ballots, along with a return envelope (postage not provided), starting September 4th. Fill out the ballot and sign, in the presence of one witness, who also must sign the ballot. Return it by mail so it will be received by your local Board of Elections no later than Friday, November 6, at 5 pm. Detailed information is on the form and also on the State Board of Elections website.
- You can register and vote during the 17 day early voting period.
- Early Voting sites and hours will be decided on in July. Each county has some discretionary control over hours, so check with your local Board of Election. In addition, when you check your registration at the state website (see above), early voting sites will be listed.
What’s On the Ballot
- You can view your ballot ahead of time when you are already registered and search your registration on the State Board of Election website. This should be available by September 4th.
- You Can Vote has a web page that shares which elected officials make decisions about important issues. Additionally, they are producing short videos about important issues and what elected offices are relevant to each. You may view all this information here.
- Vote411 is a nonpartisan compendium of information about every election. Closer to the election, they will offer candidate information. This website is maintained by the League of Women Voters.