Local Politics

Where to vote? What to bring? Things to know on Election Day

Posted November 2, 2020 6:09 a.m. EST
Updated November 3, 2020 9:37 a.m. EST

— Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Registered voters who haven't already voted can vote at their designated polling place between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Election officials say the polls are busiest early in the morning or right before closing, but anyone who is in line at 7:30 p.m. will be able to vote. You will be asked to provide your name and address, but voters are not required to show ID in the 2020 election.

Before voting on Election Day:

If you're still planning to vote by mail, completed absentee ballots must be in the mail on Tuesday or delivered to your county's Board of Elections office. to be counted. All ballots received by Nov. 12 will be counted.

At this point, it is too late to request an absentee ballot or register to vote in this year's election.

More than 4.5 million people have already voted in North Carolina, with 3.6 million voting at an early voting site and 937,000 absentee ballots sent by mail.

The state Board of Elections encourages those who have already mailed their ballot to verify that it is counted by tracking it online. As long as your ballot was postmarked by Nov. 3 and arrives in the mail before Nov. 12, it will still be counted.

Largely due to the number of ballots sent by mail, it is likely that final results will not be in on Election Day, although state election officials estimate 97% of votes will be counted by Tuesday night.

There are some extra sanitary procedures in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus at the polls. Be sure to bring a mask to the polling place. Each voter will be given a pen (or a stylus for touchscreen voting).

The sites also have lots of disinfectant available and are using it between voters. That process takes time and may slow down the lines. You might want to bring a bottle of water, a snack or even a travel chair.

To speed things up, review and even bring a sample ballot, so you know who you plan to pick. Prepare by reviewing the candidate profiles in the WRAL Voter Guide.

You are allowed to take in reference materials, a voter guide or even look up the candidates and races using your smartphone. You can't use your phone to call a friend or to take a photo or video of your ballot or anything or anyone inside the polling place.

In addition to shutting down polling places and letting anyone in line at the 7:30 p.m. close vote, as required by law, poll workers will need to do some extra sanitizing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Then, they drive their results to county election offices so they can be uploaded to the state.

Even then, results won't be official. As with every election, it takes 10 days to finalize tallies, a process that includes waiting on absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day but which arrive days later in the mail.

WRAL is the place to find election coverage

Coverage starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday with NBC News. WRAL will have live, local updates every 30 minutes plus WRAL News at 11 p.m.

If you're looking for in-depth local coverage and live expert analysis of North Carolina races, you can watch WRAL News on FOX 50 starting at 7 p.m. Continuous local coverage on FOX 50 runs until 11 p.m.

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