For the upcoming midterm elections on Nov. 8, races on the ballot include the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and several state offices including the North Carolina General Assembly, N.C. Supreme Court and N.C. Court of Appeals.
Local and county offices including the Orange County Board of County Commissioners, Clerk of Superior Court, register of deeds, sheriff and Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor will also be on the ballot in Orange County.
Here's what you need to know about how to vote:
Registering and changing registration
To register to vote in North Carolina, you must be a U.S. citizen, be at least 18 years old by the date of the general election and not be in jail or prison for a felony conviction.
The voter registration deadline for the upcoming election is Oct. 14. After that date, only same-day registration during early voting is available from Oct. 20 to Nov. 5.
There are several options for Orange County residents looking to change their registration.
Existing N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles customers can update their registration online, including address and party affiliation. They can also update their registration by mail, including their name, address and party affiliation.
Out-of-state students and other people who want to register in North Carolina for the first time without a DMV-issued ID must submit a voter registration application by mail to the North Carolina Board of Elections. You can find this application on the NCSBE's website.
Wake County Board of Elections member Gerry Cohen said the easiest way for students to register or update their registration would be to take advantage of groups helping people get registered on campus.
He said any students who have moved since they last registered must update their address.
UNC senior Ellen Garfinkle registers students to vote on campus in the Pit, outside the dining halls and at campus events with You Can Vote. She said these areas are the best places for students to find her and other organizations for help getting registered.
“Even though it's not a presidential election, we are still voting on Senate and a lot of other areas and local elections are still just as important,” Garfinkle said.
Early voting and mail-in ballots
Cohen recommended students take advantage of early voting days that don’t conflict with classes, including those during UNC’s fall break on Oct. 20 and 21.
UNC students who live on campus and are hoping to register during early voting can bring their One Card as proof from the University that they live on campus. If an off-campus student wants to register in person, Cohen said they should bring a utility bill to prove where they live.
In Orange County, there are six early voting sites, including three in Chapel Hill and one in Carrboro. Of these sites, Jamie Cox, chairperson of the Orange County Board of Elections, recommended Chapel of the Cross on Franklin Street to students because it is easily accessible from campus.
According to Cohen, a majority of votes in Orange County are cast during the early voting period.
Cohen said that students who are choosing to stay registered at their parents' address should consider voting by mail.
Rates of students registering to vote in the upcoming midterm elections were high during August, Cohen said.
“There were 1,478 new voters in Orange County and 439 were dorm residents, which is actually pretty high for like the first two weeks of moving in the semester,” Cohen said.
Cox said he has always felt that voting is a fundamental right in a democracy. He said it is important for everyone to participate in the community — even college students — no matter how long they intend to stay there.
“There are races up and down the ballot from local races, to judicial races, to state and federal races — all of which have an impact on our lives where we live,” Cox said.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said that students need to bring their One Card and proof of address from the University that they live on campus when they register during early voting. Students need to bring their One Card as proof from the University that they live on campus. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.