Democracy 101: A Last-Minute Guide To Voting In North Carolina
Election Day is just days away (Nov. 8th, to be precise), and while plenty of North Carolina voters will head to the polls on the day itself, there’s still time to vote early, as well.
But with multiple court decisions altering the state's electoral landscape this year, there’s been a lot of confusion surrounding exactly what people need in order to vote. That's why WFDD’s Sean Bueter and Paul Garber got together to chat about everything you need to know to make sure your voice is heard.
On what it takes to vote early and on election day:
The photo ID law is not going to be in place this election. But if you're a first time voter or you have moved within the county, you may be asked to show some ID. So you may want to have that photo ID or you could use, for example, a utility bill or a bank statement with your address on it to make that same point.
One of the big things that is different about this election is, because of a federal court decision, you will still be able to do same day registration during the early voting period. You won't be able to do it on election day though.
On what rights poll observers do and don’t have:
What can you do and what can you not do when you show up at the polls to be an "observer?" What you need to know is there are two kinds of levels of it.
To be inside the precinct, you must be vetted and approved by a party. Now, you do have free speech rights to be outside of the 50-foot buffer zone that are established at the precincts. You can electioneer there. You can talk to voters if they agree to talk to you. There are some restrictions, though, that you cannot do.
You cannot -- under federal and state law -- you cannot coerce or intimidate voters and that I think is where it gets kind of really in a gray area as to what people are doing out there and what is their reason for being there.
On making informed decisions in down-ballot races:
As far as the judicial races go, I like what the State Board of Elections does: they have a kind of nonpartisan rundown of everyone who's running for a statewide judicial seat such as the Court of Appeals.
But I also encourage people to look at their sample ballot before they go in. It gives you a chance to do some of your own research if you haven't seen enough about the candidates where they don't advertise a lot because they're down ballot or because of restrictions.