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The Daily Tar Heel

Tuesday is Election Day. Here's what you need to know before you vote

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A selfie station at Chapel of The Cross has "I voted" signs availible for photos on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023.

This Tuesday, Nov. 7, is Election Day. Orange County’s municipal elections include the towns of Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, as well as the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education. 

If voters are unsure what candidates they’ll see on their ballots, the Orange County website has previews of the ballots. The Daily Tar Heel compiled everything it has published on the elections, including the Editorial Board’s endorsements.

Voters with questions can text the county board of elections at (919) 246-8773 for support.

Here’s everything voters need to know before going to the polls on Tuesday. 

Voter ID

Voters must now present a valid photo ID in order to vote in North Carolina, beginning with this fall’s municipal elections.

Acceptable IDs include a North Carolina driver’s license, a U.S. passport or a UNC One Card — but only in its physical form. Digital versions of the One Card will not be permitted as verification.

Polling sites

A common misconception about voting is that voters can choose where they go to vote on Election Day, Rachel Raper, the Orange County director of elections, said. 

While voters could go to their most convenient polling location during early voting, which closed Nov. 4, she said voters must attend their assigned precinct site on Election Day.

Orange County is conducting voting at 40 locations, with one on UNC's campus at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History. Other locations close to campus include the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and First Baptist Church. Voters can determine their assigned precinct and voting site on the Orange County website.

All polling sites will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Anyone standing in line by 7:30 p.m. will still be permitted to vote.

Verifying registration status

If a voter is unsure if they’re appropriately registered to vote where they live, they can verify their voting information using the voter lookup tool provided by the N.C. State Board of Elections. 

“If officials on Election Day cannot verify your eligibility to vote — you're not listed on the poll books — then you have to vote a provisional ballot,” Raper said.

Provisional ballots are used when a voter’s qualification or eligibility to vote is called into question. This could occur if a voter attempts to vote at the incorrect precinct, doesn’t present an acceptable form of ID — or if they’re not properly registered.

With this process, voters can cast their votes, but they won’t be counted and the election results won’t be finalized until the registration status of the voter is confirmed.

Arriving at the polling site

When voters arrive at their assigned polling site, they can expect to be checked in by a voting official. Voters will sign an authorization to vote form and receive a ballot. They’ll then go to a voting booth and mark the ballot with a provided pen, Raper said.

Voters can request help at any time from precinct officials within the polling site. Those who are unable to enter the polling place without assistance because of age or disability can participate in curbside voting, which will be marked by signs at the polling location.

Raper said the precinct officials will be wearing either maroon or orange aprons. She said there will be five to seven precinct officials at every polling site.

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Once the ballot is marked, it will be placed into a DS200, which is the vote-scanning equipment that Orange County uses to analyze ballot data, Raper said. As soon as a voter’s ballot is submitted, they are free to leave. 

Raper said all the voting sites in Orange County have the same equipment and process.

Looking forward

Results for these elections can be expected to be determined late Tuesday night. The next election being held in Orange County will be on March 5, 2024 — the general election primaries.

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com