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'Want to hear student's voices': Candidates and elected officials encourage UNC students to vote

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UNC students stand in line at the voting area located in the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History during election day on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

With local elections this November, candidates and elected officials are encouraging young people to register to vote and get involved in local politics.

The voter registration deadline for the Nov. 7 municipal elections is Oct. 13 at 5 p.m. But, voters participating in one-stop early voting and same-day registration in Chapel Hill and Carrboro can register at their polling place from Oct. 19 to Nov. 4.

Students who are already registered with a North Carolina ID in another county and wish to be registered in Chapel Hill can change their registration through the Department of Motor Vehicles website. 

Out-of-state students who wish to change their registration must complete a physical registration form, which can be found at Davis Library and Student Union Room 2501.

If students intend to register in Orange County, they should mail their form to the Orange County Board of Elections. Stamps are available for purchase at UNC Student Stores.

All students that are eligible to vote can claim Chapel Hill as their residence for the purpose of voter registration, regardless of whether or not they plan to remain in Chapel Hill after graduation. So, students can use their residence hall addresses for registration, which will allow them to vote in local elections.

This year, UNC students can use their One Cards as their voter identification at the polls.

Gerry Cohen, a Wake County Board of Elections member, was elected to the Chapel Hill Town Council in 1973 when he was a UNC student. He said it is very important for students to vote in local elections.

“The actions of your local government affect you greatly, like I mentioned, housing, construction, zoning, traffic ordinances, alcohol consumption and all sorts of things directly affect students,” Cohen said. 

Paris Miller-Foushee is a Chapel Hill Town Council member and said candidates are addressing issues that directly affect UNC students.

Miller-Foushee said much of the policy local lawmakers create is for the future, and that students should pay attention to what those policies are.

“Voting becomes a clear mechanism through which to exercise your right to bring about the change," she said. "That change takes place by putting those candidates in office. We're gonna do the work for you."

Miller-Foushee said she wants students to take the initiative to vote because speaking up is the only way to impose change.

Chapel Hill should be a collective community where everyone’s voice is heard, including student concerns, Miller-Foushee said. She said she wants to blur the lines between on campus and off campus.

“I want to hear student's voices and I want to see their voices heard as, as a whole," Miller-Foushee said. "They're an integral part of our community." 

Theodore Nollert, a candidate for Chapel Hill Town Council, is a graduate student at UNC.

Nollert said voting and getting involved in politics is the most effective way to address the problems in the world.

“But for most of us, we were not fully realizing our potential to make a difference in the world," Nollert said. "And I would just say I don't want to turn down any opportunity to do something that makes a difference."

He said inaction is still an action, and by choosing not to vote, you may be allowing harm to occur in the community.

Nollert wants voting to be accessible for all students. He said accessibility can look like voting polls close to campus and the use of One Cards as voter ID.

The closest poll to campus open for early voting is at Chapel of the Cross, which is located at 304 E. Franklin St., next to Morehead Planetarium. Polls are open every day for the 10-day period of early voting.

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All polls are open on Nov. 7 from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. for registered voters.

CLARIFICATION: This article has been updated to clarify that Chapel Hill and Carrboro residents can still register to vote at their polling places during the early voting period from Oct. 19 through Nov. 4.

CORRECTION: This article originally stated incorrect dates for the early voting period. The dates have since been corrected. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error.

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