5 On Your Side

5 On Your Side: Voting questions answered

Posted October 14, 2020 5:18 p.m. EDT
Updated October 17, 2020 9:37 a.m. EDT

Voters have questions, and 5 On Your Side is tracking down answers.

Early voting sites are set up and ready to go. Based on the long lines we’ve seen in other states, it’s expected we’ll see the same. A big reason, beyond record turnout, is the social distancing requirements that will stretch out lines and sanitation efforts that will slow the process.

Where and when is early voting?

In Wake County, there’s been some confusion about early voting locations.

Board of Elections Director Gary Sims wants voters to know the county’s elections operations center, the State Board of Elections office on Salisbury Street, and Chavis Park Community Center are not early voting sites.

You can find detailed information about early voting sites online by searching your county or the state board of elections.

Many include maps, photos of the site, even the size and number of parking spaces.

The times that each polling site is open differs by each county. Most open at 7 or 8 a.m. and the closing times will vary. Check your county for what times and locations are available for weekend early voting.

If I requested a mail-in ballot, can I still vote in person?

There are also plenty of questions about absentee ballots.

If you have one and have not sent it in, yes, can you still vote in person.

"If you do plan that, tear up the absentee by mail, don’t bring it with you," said Sims.

He added the absentee ballot won’t fit into the tabulator machines used on site.

"We won’t accept it. We cannot accept it. You have to have a brand new ballot," said Sims.

Can I bring my mail-in ballot to the polls?

You can submit your absentee ballot to a poll official at early voting locations, just know because of safety and security protocols, you have to wait in line with everyone else and fill out a log.

Your absentee ballot will then be secured and brought to the operations center.

So plan accordingly or mail it in.

How long will it take to vote?

Some have questioned how long voting will take. A lot impacts that.

To help speed the process, have a sample ballot from your county website or the WRAL Voter Guide ready to go. The WRAL Voter Guide steps you through the races on your ballot with candidate profiles, resumés and their answers to questions about priorities, the economy, health care and more.

You can refer to it on your phone or print it out.

What if I see something that doesn't look right?

If you've experienced or observed a problem casting your ballot with absentee mail-in voting, early voting, or voting on Election Day, let us know. 5 On Your Side will look into the issue and contact you if we're able to help.

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