The OC Voice is a portion of the OC Report newsletter where local residents may have a platform to talk about local issues they care about. Gerry Cohen is a member of the Wake County Board of Elections and an adjunct professor at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy.
2020 has seen an enormous voter turnout already. Despite undergraduate classes in person canceled and 75 percent of dorm residents gone, through Sunday morning, Orange County had 50,214 in-person early votes and 25,147 accepted mail ballots.
The total of 75,361 is over 90 percent of total 2016 Orange County turnout with Election Day yet to come, and is over 67 percent of all county registered voters. The Chapel of the Cross early voting site on Franklin Street next to campus had 6,391 early voters. Statewide, over 3.6 million voters early voted and nearly a million absentee ballots have already been cast.
This incredible turnout is a testament to voters who care about this important election. If you have voted already, congratulations.
But what if you are one of the 33 percent of Orange County voters (or of the 38 percent statewide) who have not yet voted? If you are a North Carolina resident and registered to vote, check your voter registration at https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/ (or go to www.ncsbe.gov and navigate to “About Election Day Voting”).
Find your polling place under “Election Day Polling Place” once you find your voter record and click on your name, and go vote there on Tuesday from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm. If you have moved from that address but still reside in the county (or are away from your voting address temporarily, perhaps returning for spring semester), still go back to that polling place; you may be asked to vote a provisional ballot or be directed to the new one.
For all students in UNC housing, the UNC precinct polling place is the Sonja Haynes Stone Center on campus.
What if you have an N.C. absentee ballot but haven’t send it in yet? All is not lost.
You have several options:
- Just go ahead and vote in person Tuesday if you can, and discard the mail ballot
- Take it to your local county board of elections office Monday or Tuesday between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and turn it in
- Go to a post office Monday or Tuesday, and go in and take your ballot envelope to the clerk at the counter. Ask the clerk to hand postmark it, as ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 will count if your county gets it by Nov. 12. You might consider using Priority Mail, though that costs $7.50.
If you live in Orange County and want to make your voice heard on something you care about locally, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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