Make Sure You Are Registered to Vote and That Your Vote Counts
Will your vote count in 2008? North Carolina is in pretty good shape in most counties regarding the voting machines, but in the touch screen counties, if there are problems with the voting machines, your vote could be affected. In many cases, the voter should ask for a different machine and have the malfunctioning one removed from service. Now that we are so close to the elections, we must focus on voter registration.
1. Are you registered to vote in NC? Check to make sure that you are registered, and to find out where you should vote. Go to the North Carolina State Board of Elections' Voter Lookup Page
2. How to register to vote -
a. Register to vote either by mailing your registration form to your county Board of Election, or in person at govt agencies, and/or at the Department of Moter Vehicles. Do this 25 days prior to the election if you want to vote on election day. To vote in the May 6 Primary, you must register to vote by April 11, 2008 if you wish to vote at your neighborhood polling place. Downloadable voter registration forms are available at the State Board of Elections on their National and NC Voter Registration Forms page. Once you complete the form you should mail it to your County Board of Elections . *Be sure to check all boxes, use accurate information, and if hand writing, be sure your writing is legible! After about 5 days, check either online or by calling your County Board of Elections to make sure that you are registered.
b. You can also register to Vote during the One Stop Absentee Voting time period. One Stop Absentee Voting for the May 6th primary is from Apr. 17 - May 3. For more information, click here
3. Changing your voter registration information -your name, residential address, mailing address, or party affiliation,
Voters who have moved need to have their registration corrected:
You may use the North Carolina Voter Registration Application/ Change of Information Form from the NC State Board of Elections website change any of your information.
a. When you move within a county, you should complete an in-county change of address. This can be completed on your voter identification card, a signed letter to your local board of elections or on the above form.
b. When you move from one county to another, you will need to apply for voter registration in your new county of residence.
Contact your County Board of Elections if you have questions or concerns.
4. If you plan to vote on election day, then you must go to your assigned polling place, which is listed on your voter registration card. Check Your Voter Registration Here.
5. If you vote early, then you can vote at any one stop site in your county. Download a list of available One Stop Sites.
6. First time voters must bring identification. First-time voters who registered by mail or at a voter registration drive after January 1, 2003, may be asked to show identification. Take along any valid photo I.D., a utility bill, or government document addressed to you when you vote. Even if you aren't a first time voter, it helps to bring ID.
7. Unaffiliated voters may vote in either the Democratic or Republican Primary according to the NC State Board of Elections. State law leaves this up to the political parties to decide for each election.
8. Voters can help protect elections by volunteering to work at the polling places. There is no better way to ensure that votes count than by being part of the process. Contact your county Board of Elections to volunteer.
Do Your Best to Get a Regular Ballot and Not a Provisional Ballot
The big concern at this time of the year should be to make sure that voters get to vote and vote a regular valid ballot. You want to avoid getting a provisional ballot if possible because it has less chance of being counted. In the 2006 general election in North Carolina, about 35% of provisional ballots were rejected.
Provisional ballots are "conditional" ballots issued to voters and might not count. Provisional ballots are issued to voters who have some sort of voter registration problem or who have shown up at the wrong polling place. Another problem is where voters' registration applications are rejected because of failure to match government databases. Often the failure to match is due to clerical errors, name changes due to marriage or problems with the database itself. Sadly, many provisional ballots are not counted on election day. More information on our Provisional Ballots page.
We expect the number of provisional ballots to decrease thanks to amendments made to state election law. In August 2007, the General Assembly scrapped an existing policy rejecting new voter registrations from citizens if even a single letter of their personal information on their registration card did not match their personal information in state motor vehicle and Social Security databases. For more on that, see "North Carolina overturns voter registration restriction." - Brennan Center for Justice.
The North Carolina Coalition for Verified Voting is a grassroots non-partisan organization fighting for clean and verified elections.Contact Joyce McCloy, Coordinator, N.C. Coalition for Verifiable Voting - phone 336-794-1240 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Voting in North Carolina
Keeping the election process in the hands of citizens is extremely important.
Voters in North Carolina have many choices in when, where and how they can cast their ballot. Even voter registration is easier now. Find out if you are registered and where your polling place is here . North Carolina allows for residents to register and vote during the One Stop Absentee Voting time period. For more information on One Stop voter registration, click here. Voters may vote on election day at their assigned neighborhood polling place, vote early at any of the "one stop" voting sites provided in their county, or vote absentee by mail, no excuse required. Find out more about voting early or absentee here .
Our elections administration is set up with checks and balances that help ensure fairness to voters regardless of political party. North Carolina works on the “fox and hens” method. Each polling place has both Republican and Democrat election officials and a split in poll workers. The majority Party in the State (currently Dems) gets two election officials in each Precinct and the minority Party gets one. Poll workers are generally to be 50% from each Party. So the “fox,” currently Republicans watch the “hens,” currently Democrats. If and when Democrats lose power in the State, the situation will reverse.
The State Board of Elections is the state agency charged with overall responsibility for administration of the elections process and campaign finance disclosure in North Carolina. It is the only statutory bi-partisan, quasi-judicial supervisory board in North Carolina State government. The Governor of North Carolina appoints the five members of the Board
While each County has a professional election director and usually a small professional staff, it is the appointed County Board of Elections who has the decision making power on critical issues. Each County Board of Elections is overseen by a 3 member board, with 2 members from the majority political party, and 1 member from the minority party. The North Carolina BOE offers a certification program for the election officials. It is a very solid program, but is not required.