Q&A: Voting in election 2016
Voters head to the polls this fall after years of controversy and a flurry of recent court rulings over election rules. Here's what you need to know in order to make sure your vote counts.Posted — Updated
When North Carolina voters head to the polls for the 2016 general election this fall, they will be working under a set of rules more akin to what they experienced in 2012 than the guidelines that were in place for the March and June primaries.
For those who are confused, need a refresher on the rules, want a reminder of the various federal lawsuits at play or just need the links to state and local election resources, read on. If you have a question that's not on this list, please let us know by clicking on the reporter's name at the end of this post.
Many people register to vote by mail, but there are also a number of government offices that will help you, including your local board of elections office.
"One of the opportunities that is way underused is you can register to vote at any one of our Wake County public libraries," said Gary Sims, director of the Wake County Board of Elections.
That's true of libraries in other counties as well.
Not necessarily, but it would be a very good idea.
According to the State Board of Elections, "Inactive voters are still registered voters. If an inactive voter presents to vote, the person will be asked to update his or her address with the board of elections." That means there is a safety valve for you if your voter registration has slipped into inactive status without you noticing.
But please note: voters are put on inactive status after they haven't voted in two federal elections – four years – and if their local board of election has tried and failed twice to reach that voter through the mail.
"Typically, this means the voter has moved, and we need them to update their address," said Gary Sims, director of the Wake County Board of Elections.
If you have moved, it will affect where you vote and which local offices you vote for, and if you have moved across county lines, you will absolutely need to re-register to vote.
Like all election officials, Sims advises that it's easier to correct any potential registration issues, such as a change of address, before the Oct. 14 deadline than after.
If you miss the deadline, your next best option is probably to vote during the one-stop early voting period, during which you can register and vote at the same time.
However, voters also have the option of registering "unaffiliated," in which case they won't be a member of any political party. In addition to voting in the November general election, unaffiliated voters can choose which party's ballot they want to cast in primary elections.
Make sure to bring an acceptable form of residency with you. That proof, which has to show the person's name and current address, can be a North Carolina driver's license, a photo identification from a government agency or "a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document."
North Carolina's one-stop period opens on Oct. 20 and closes Nov. 5. Different counties will have different early voting schedules and open different early voting locations.
Most voters will not, although there are two important, but relatively limited, exceptions.
Maybe. In order to vote, you must be at least 18 years old or turn 18 by the date of the general election, Nov. 8.
Nope. The option to mark one oval or box in order to support all of the candidates of a particular political party has been eliminated. Voters must make a selection in each race for which they want to cast a vote.
You can use this map to see if your congressional district changed between the 2011 and the 2016 maps.
While there is a long history to this case, the upshot is that Wake County voters will choose nine new school board members and three new commissioners this year in districts that were first used during the 2012 election.
Yes to the pone, no to the selfie.
Unlike four years ago, voters are now allowed to use a smartphone to look at candidate lists, sample ballots or other election info.
Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.