CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this story was not clear enough in specifying the different forms of ballots cast. Students who vote with a provisional ballot because they lack acceptable ID do not have to return to the Orange County Board of Elections with proper identification if they gave truthful reason for not having obtained an acceptable ID. Those students must only provide alternative identifying information. In the "What if I cannot get a photo ID before the election?"The quote that follows refers to provisional ballots cast because a voter forgot their form of acceptable ID, not because they lacked one entirely. The story has been updated to reflect this change.
When is the primary election?
Election day is March 15 — which is over Spring Break — and the polls will be open from 6:30 am to 7:00 pm. Absentee voting began on Jan. 25.
“You have until the Tuesday before the election to request an absentee ballot. Absentee ballots can be returned up until the day of the election,” Ted Fitzgerald, spokesperson for the North Carolina Board of Elections, said.
When and where can I vote early?
“One stop voting or early voting begins on March 3 and goes for ten days,” Fitzgerald said.
Orange County has six early voting sites, which are open from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm on weekdays and from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays. Tracy Reams, director of the Orange County County Board of Elections, said she hopes students will vote at Chapel of the Cross on Franklin Street.
“It is located right next to the Morehead Planetarium, and we had hoped that it would be a convenient location for students on campus to vote.”
When can I register to vote?
Students not participating in one-stop voting must register to vote in the primary by Feb. 19.
“At one-stop voting a student can still register to vote and vote at the same time, but they need to provide proof of residence,” Fitzgerald said. “That can be a current utility bill, a bank statement, paycheck, government check or any other government document.”
Can I register to vote in Orange County if I don’t live here or in the state permanently?
Students can register to vote in Orange County with any Orange County address, including dorms and apartments — but they must vote in the corresponding precinct and have lived in the county for 30 days.
Out-of-state students can choose to register in their home state and vote there or to register in Orange County and vote early or by absentee ballot.
How can I vote using an absentee ballot?
An absentee ballot can be requested online from the county board of elections through March 8, and will be mailed to the voter’s Orange County address. The ballot must be postmarked on or before March 15.
“An absentee ballot contains the envelope in which to return it and it either has to be notarized or signed by two witnesses,” Fitzgerald said. “Notaries are not allowed to charge for notarizing a ballot.”
Any notary public can notarize an absentee ballot, and this service is available in the bottom of the UNC Student Stores. Witnesses can be any individuals over the age of 18.
Reams said the only identifying information required with an absentee ballot is the last four digits of the voter’s social security number or the voter’s drivers license number.
Do I need to show ID when I vote?
All voters in 2016 must show government issued photo ID.
Acceptable forms of ID are listed on the NC Board of Elections website and include NC Drivers License, NC State Identification Card, U.S. Passport, Military Identification Card, Veterans Identification Card, and certain Tribal Enrollment Cards.
UNC Student IDs cannot be used as ID, but the DMV can issue free voter ID cards if individuals can provide proof of citizenship.
In-state students do not need the address on their photo ID to match their voting address. And out-of-state students that register to vote in North Carolina within 90 days of the election can use an out-of-state ID.
What if I cannot get a photo ID before the election?
Students that are unable to get photo ID before the election can still vote with provisional ballots if they state the reason they could not get one.
“In order for the ballot to be counted the student will have to bring a form of ID to the board of elections office by 12:00 noon on the day we canvas, which is the Monday following the election,” Reams said.
Students who vote with a provisional ballot because they lack acceptable ID do not have to return to the Orange County Board of Elections with proper identification if they gave truthful reason for not having obtained an acceptable ID. Those students must only provide alternative identifying information.
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