With early voting underway in North Carolina, many have already gone to the polls. Here’s a guide on how to navigate early voting in Orange County.
When is early voting?
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Early voting began Thursday, Oct. 15 and will end Saturday, Oct. 31 at 3 p.m. All Orange County locations are open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Where can I vote early?
There are six early voting sites in Orange County:
- Orange Works at Hillsborough Commons, 113 Mayo St., Hillsborough
- Carrboro Town Hall, 301 W. Main St., Carrboro
- Chapel of the Cross, 304 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill
- Efland Ruritan Club, 3009 Forrest Ave., Efland
- Seymour Senior Center, 2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill
- University Mall, 201 S. Estes Drive, Chapel Hill
How can I get to a polling place?
Chapel Hill Transit will provide routes to four of the six early voting sites: Route CW to Carrboro Town Hall, Route D to Chapel of the Cross, Route HS to Seymour Senior Center and Route A to University Mall.
What should I bring?
Gerry Cohen, a member of the Wake County Board of Elections, said if you’re already registered to vote, all you need is to state your name and address. If you’ve moved somewhere within the county of your voter registration, you can report your address change during early voting.
You can also register to vote during the early voting period in your county, but Cohen said proof of residency must be provided.
“You do have to have something with your address,” he said. “It does not have to be a photo ID, but it needs to be something with your address.”
Rachel Raper, director of the Orange County Board of Elections, said same-day voter registration is only allowed during early voting.
Is it safe to vote in person?
One of the main concerns of this election is the risk of voting in person due to COVID-19. But Cohen said all poll workers are required to wear a face mask or shield. Voters are also strongly encouraged to wear masks.
Raper said everyone in line must stand 6 feet apart. She also said they are cleaning behind every voter.
“When you go to the voting booth and once you leave the voting booth, that booth has to be cleaned,” she said.
When is the best time to vote early?
Cohen said the lowest voter turnout typically occurs between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., as well as after 6 p.m. He said the longest lines occur on the first day of early voting, as well as the last four days, which would be from Oct. 28 to 31.
Who will be voting early?
Over 900,000 North Carolinians have voted early as of Sunday at 5:30 p.m., according to the N.C. State Board of Elections.
Sesha Patel, a first-year at UNC, will be voting for the first time in her hometown of Wilmington. She said she is going to the polls early to get her vote in without any issues that may arise if she voted on Election Day.
Patel also said early voting is a safer bet during the pandemic because there will likely be less of a crowd. Although she voted in the primaries, she is looking forward to her first general election.
“I loved the feeling of walking out of the voting center and knowing you’ve made your voice heard in this way,” she said. “I think the pandemic has definitely scared some people, especially older voters, but it ties into one of the key issues of who we vote for.”
You can learn more about early voting in Orange County here.
To read more of The Daily Tar Heel's election coverage, visit our election center.
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