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Mail-in voting starts, with changes

Posted September 5, 2014
Updated September 8, 2014

Provisional ballots, absentee ballots

— Friday is the first day for voters to request and submit mail-in absentee ballots for the Nov. 4 general election.

The process for voting by mail is different this year because of legislative changes made in 2013. 

Voters requesting a mail-in ballot no longer have to submit a handwritten letter. Instead, they can now download and print out a request form from the State Board of Elections' website.

The new form requires the voter's driver's license or ID number or the last four digits of the person's Social Security number. If the voter has neither, the form must include a copy of either a valid photo ID or a utility bill, bank statement or other document proving the voter lives at the address. 

The request form must be signed by the voter or the voter's legal guardian or a near relative (immediate family). The signed request form can be mailed, faxed, electronically sent or submitted in person to the voter's county elections office. 

Once the request is received and approved, the county board will send the absentee ballot to the voter's address.   

According to State Board of Elections spokesman Josh Lawson, mail-in voters will also find a change on their ballot envelopes.

"The absentee return envelope must bear signatures and addresses from two witnesses or one notarial certificate," Lawson said in an email. "In 2012, only one witness signature was required (two were required in 2010)." 

Voters must be registered to receive a mail-in ballot, but Lawson says voters can send in their voter registration form at the same time as their request for a mail-in absentee ballot up until Oct. 10, the deadline for voter registration for the general election.

Requests for mail-in ballots will be accepted until 5 p.m. Oct. 28, one week before the election. The mail-in ballots themselves must be postmarked no later than Election Day. 

In-person absentee voting, also known as early voting, starts Oct. 23. That's later than it's started in recent years. Lawmakers last year cut the early voting period from 17 days before the election to 10 days. 

Voters will also have to be sure their registration is up-to-date by Oct. 10 because lawmakers ended same-day registration during early voting.

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  • miseem Sep 9, 2014

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    The gist of the article, and the comments, have been that no "official" id is required for absentee ballots. Why would that not be a requirement on absentee ballots? Just take it to a notary, show an approved ID and get it notarized. Maybe even a photocopy of the id with some back up documentation. But we can't ask our legislature to think of everything, can we?

  • Tommie Chavis Sep 9, 2014
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    Sarcasm on today?

  • Tommie Chavis Sep 9, 2014
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    Tell me how can you compare voting in other countries to the USA. Do we vote by the rights of other countries or by the right given to us in the US Constitution that says no where you must present an ID. I am not against having an ID but stop comparing this great country to another when it comes to voting rights and our Constitution.

  • Montcalm Sep 8, 2014

    Let's hope this new initiative will help crack down on the widespread voter fraud across this great state.

  • Terry Watts Sep 8, 2014
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    Where are the RWers screaming for more Ballot Security???

    Or was that whole "Voter ID" thing just a huge lie???

  • Ty Shrake Sep 8, 2014
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    When you say "suppressing voters" do you mean like the way Nelson Mandela was insisting on when he wore this shirt?

    http://therepublicanedge.com/?p=262

    Or do you mean the way Canada suppresses voters when you have to present an ID to vote there?

  • heelhawk Sep 8, 2014

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    Perhaps the part that says "last four digits of the social security number, a utility bill, bank statement, or other document proving the voter lives at the address"? Just a thought. You are missing the greater point, however, which is that if I can give the last 4 of my social or mail a copy of my Duke Energy bill for an absentee ballot, why can I not use the same to vote in person?

  • Brian Tucker Sep 8, 2014
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    The new form requires the voter's driver's license or ID number or the last four digits of the person's Social Security number. If the voter has neither, the form must include a copy of either a valid photo ID or a utility bill, bank statement or other document proving the voter lives at the address.

    Plenty Coups did you read the story ? this is what I read ... says either License # or last 4 of SSI # ..... how can you say different ?

  • Jack Jones Sep 8, 2014
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    Today is a good day to double-check your registration and polling place. The voter suppression laws enacted by Republicans are so broad, it's difficult to tell how sweeping the affects really are.

  • bettyboopr2 Sep 8, 2014

    you should have to have a photo ID....

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