Residents of Orange County are set to vote in the upcoming elections in November. While there are no presidential or statewide candidates on the ballot, there are plenty of local races that could profoundly shape the community in the coming years.
With this in mind, here is some important voting information Orange County residents should know.
Registering to vote
The voter registration deadline is Friday, Oct. 8.
This is the date by which all Orange County residents must be registered to vote to participate in the elections, which will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 2. In addition, anyone voting in Orange County must have been a resident of the county for at least 30 days prior to the election. Additional qualifications to vote can be found on Orange County's website.
New registrants can submit their application either by mail or in person to the Orange County Board of Elections office. Individuals who have a North Carolina driver’s license or have a DMV-issued ID can also register to vote online.
Those who miss the registration deadline can register and vote simultaneously by showing proof of residency at a polling location during the early voting period.
Where to vote
Orange County has four sites for early voting: Carrboro Town Hall, Chapel of the Cross (located on UNC's campus), the Seymour Center and Orange Works at Hillsborough Commons. While Orange Works has early voting on Oct. 14 and 15, early voting lasts from Monday, Oct. 18, to Saturday, Oct. 30, at all of the sites.
On Election Day, voters can cast their ballot at any of the 40 polling locations in Orange County from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Voters can vote in person or by mail, though mail-in ballots must be requested by 5:00 p.m. on Oct. 26 and returned to the county Board of Elections office no later than 5:00 p.m. on Nov. 2.
Cora Martin, the co-director of the undergraduate Student Government's Department of Civic Engagement and Outreach Services, said in an email to The Daily Tar Heel that voting early is a good option, but also emphasized that Election Day voting is feasible.
“I would say that it is no harder for students to vote on Election Day than it is to vote early, they just have to find their Election Day polling place, which is also located on campus at the Stone Center,” Martin said. “If anything, depending on a student’s class schedule, this option is easier!”
'Take part in shaping our policy'
Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger, who is up for reelection this year, said she hopes more students will come out to vote this year than in previous off-year elections.
“The year the H.B. 2 bill was being proposed, we saw people come out,” she said. “They wanted to make sure they voted, and that was great. But other than that time, we haven’t had a lot of students, in general, voting.”
Hongbin Gu, a member of the Chapel Hill Town Council and a candidate for mayor of Chapel Hill, also wants students to go out and vote.
“There are lots of students on UNC’s campus who care about climate change, care about the impacts of our land use, infrastructure and transportation,” Gu said. “We need more students to be actively engaged and take part in shaping our policy."
Martin also acknowledged the importance of local elections and why all members of the community — including students — should participate in them.
“Local government controls the things that directly touch your life,” they said. “Things like parking, school districts, local ordinances and laws that affect you (and that you can affect change on) are up for election on odd numbered years.”