Raleigh, N.C. — One-stop early voting opened Thursday across North Carolina for the counties and municipalities holding a primary or general election on Oct. 8.
Anyone who missed the voter registration deadline can register to vote and then cast an absentee ballot at their county board of elections office during the early voting period, which ends on Saturday, Oct. 5.
New restrictions prohibiting same-day registration and curtailing the early voting period don't take effect until next year. Showing photo identification at the polls isn't required until 2016.
Some counties, including Wake, have alternate one-stop voting sites. Check your county's Board of Elections website for details.
Here are some of the key races for our area:
Voters will cast ballots on an $810 million school bond referendum, as well as four open seats on the Board of Education. Each of the seats is tied to a specific district, and only those living in those districts will vote in a particular district's race.
Current board members Deborah Prickett, Bill Fletcher and Tom Benton are all vying to keep their seats, but no matter what the outcome, the balance of power on the school board will remain with the Democratic-leaning majority.
Mayor Nancy McFarlane is up for re-election against challengers Venita Peyton and Robert Lewis Weltzin, and residents will cast ballots in six City Council races. Two at-large seats are up for grabs, as are five district seats.
Voters will also decide on a $75 million transportation bond.
Voters will cast ballots for three open Town Council seats. At-large incumbent Edward Yerha is running unopposed.
Oct. 8 is a primary election for the mayor and the city council seat for Ward II.
Voters will cast primary ballots for mayor and four city council seats. Mayor Tony Chavonne is not running for re-election.
Municipal elections are typically low-key and low turnout, but Wake County Elections Director Cherie Poucher said this year could be different.
"Anytime you have a countywide bond on the ballot, it will increase the turnout," Poucher said.
In the last municipal elections in 2011, 22 percent of registered voters cast ballots in Wake County.
Although Raleigh's early-voting site wasn't bustling Thursday, numerous people took advantage of the opportunity to cast ballots.
"I know it's important to vote, and I have a busy schedule. So, I thought, while I have the chance, I'd get out and vote," Clymer Cease said.
"I heard it on the news that it was (early) voting. I was trying to figure out what are we voting for now, and I didn't want to miss my opportunity," Patricia McNair said.