Local Politics

Early voting underway for NC's March primaries

Posted February 12, 2020 5:51 p.m. EST
Updated February 13, 2020 10:51 a.m. EST

— Election season has arrived in North Carolina, as early voting for the March 3 primaries started Thursday.

In addition to the presidential election, North Carolina has a number of notable races on the 2020 ballot:

  • Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis is seeking a second six-year term. He faces three challengers in the primary, and five Democrats also are vying for the seat.
  • All 13 U.S. House seats are up for grabs, and a new voting map drawn by state lawmakers last year under court order has scrambled some area congressional districts. The 2nd Congressional District now includes most of Wake County, while the 13th District has replaced the 6th District in the western portion of the Triangle. Only 10 of the 13 districts have primaries.
  • All 10 Council of State races also are up for grabs, and all have primaries in at least one party, including governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, state treasurer, state auditor, secretary of state, school superintendent and commissioners of agriculture, insurance and labor.
  • All 170 seats in the General Assembly also are before voters, and like the congressional districts, many of the state House and Senate districts have been redrawn under court order.
  • Various counties also will elect county commissioners, school board members and other local officials.

Voters who have registered as a member of a political party can vote only in that party's primary, while unaffiliated voters can choose to vote in the Democratic, Republican or Libertarian primaries.

Unlike on Election Day, when registered voters can vote only at a specific precinct, people using early voting can cast ballots at any voting site open during the period.

Early voting sites are open 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. weekdays, but weekend hours vary.

Photo IDs aren't required at the polls to cast a ballot in the primary. A federal judge has put state's new voter ID requirement on hold amid a legal challenge.

People who aren't already registered to vote – the deadline has already passed – can also register at an early voting site or update their name or address before casting their ballots.

For same-day registration, people must attest to their eligibility by completing and signing a voter registration application and provide proof of residence by presenting one of the following showing their current name and address:

  • A North Carolina driver's license
  • Another photo identification issued by a government agency. Any government-issued photo ID is acceptable, as long as the card bears the voter's current name and address.
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document showing the voter’s name and address
  • A current college/university photo identification card paired with proof of campus habitation

Early voting runs through Saturday, Feb. 29.

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