If you're the kind of person who turns in assignments before deadline or shows up to class 15 minutes early, North Carolina has good news for you — you can now vote in the North Carolina primary 12 days before it's scheduled to happen.
Early voting in North Carolina started Thursday and will last until March 12. During the 10-day-long early voting period, the state is projected to host 25,300 hours of voting at more than 360 voting sites, according to a press release from the state.
“Counties have worked hard to expand voting opportunities across our state,” Kim Westbrook Strach, executive director of the N.C. State Board of Elections, said in the press release.
There are six early voting sites in Orange County, three of which are in Chapel Hill — Chapel of the Cross, New Hope Community Center and Seymour Center.
“We pretty much set up Chapel of the Cross, which is right there on Franklin Street, and we established that site to accommodate UNC students, so we’re hoping that our students utilize early voting sites,” said Tracy Reams, director of the Orange County Board of Elections.
Even if you missed the voter registration deadline on Feb. 19, you can still same-day register during the early voting period.
Although a 2013 state law eliminated a same-day registration option, people may register to vote during the one-stop early voting period due to a preliminary injunction granted by the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Meanwhile, the new voter ID law that requires every voter to present a photo ID is under way. The federal court refused a request by the challengers — the U.S. Department of justice and the N.C. NAACP — to block the law for the March primary election.
“If you have acceptable ID, bring it,” Stratch said.
In-state students can use their N.C. driver license or N.C. ID card. Out-of-state states can use their out-of-state DMV card if they are registered to vote within 90 days of the election.
“But if you’re unable to obtain one, you can vote by absentee or our precinct officials will help you cast a ballot that will count," Stratch said.
March 8 and March 15 are the deadlines for requesting and returning an absentee ballot, respectively.
For students who won’t be able to cast a ballot on March 15 — in the middle of our approaching spring break — early voting is the last chance to make your voice heard.
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