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EdExplainer: How you can vote in North Carolina’s 2022 primary election

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  • Registered voters have lots of options, from voting early in person, voting by mail, or voting on Election Day. Here's what you need to know.
  • You can still register to vote in North Carolina's primary next month. Find out how.

Early voting for North Carolina’s 2022 primary is underway, and there’s a lot you need to know if you plan to vote.

Many of North Carolina’s school boards and county commissions have elections this year, and these are the bodies that control much of what happens inside school buildings, from passing budgets, to making choices about curriculum. Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at who’s running.

North Carolina has a semi-closed primary, which means if you’re a voter registered with a particular party, you must vote in that party’s primary election. For example, if you’re a registered Republican, you must vote in the Republican primary. If you’re an unaffiliated voter, however, you can choose which party’s primary you vote in.

Read on for information about how you can still register to vote and cast your vote in this election.

Registering to vote

At this point, if you aren’t already registered to vote in North Carolina, you still have the option to do so at one-stop early voting. Not sure if you’re registered? Find out here.

During early voting — which runs until 3 p.m. on May 14 — anyone interested in registering can fill out an application at an early voting location in their county. Those interested in same-day registration need to provide proof of their eligibility and address, such as a North Carolina driver’s license.

Once you register, you may immediately vote on the same day — hence the term “one-stop early voting.”

When you vote early in person, current registered voters have the option to update their information, including their name or address.

Vote by mail

If you don’t want to vote in person, you have the option to vote by mail. You can request your ballot using this online portal from the State Board of Elections. You have until May 10 to request your ballot, but the State Board of Elections encourages you to make your request as soon as possible so you have ample time to return your ballot.

Once you’ve made your request and received your ballot, you can cast your vote, seal and sign your envelope, and have witnesses sign the envelope. You can either return your ballot in person at an early voting site or your county board of elections’ office or you can mail in your ballot. If you are returning your ballot in person, it must be dropped off by May 17 at 5 p.m. If you are mailing your ballot in, it must be postmarked by May 17 and must arrive no later than 5 p.m. three days after Election Day.

If you want to vote by mail, you can use BallotTrax to track your ballot throughout this process.

Early voting

You can vote at any early voting site in the county where you are registered during early voting. Find those locations here.

Election Day voting

Election Day is May 17. If you want to vote in person on Election Day, you have to go to your assigned precinct, unlike during the early voting period. Same-day registration is not available on Election Day.

Polling places will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. If you’re in line at your assigned polling place by 7:30 p.m., you will be able to vote. Voters are not required to show photo ID to vote. According to the State Board of Elections website, “Intimidating any voter is a crime. Voters who feel harassed or intimidated should notify an election official immediately.”

You could receive a provisional ballot if questions arise about your voter eligibility. While those questions are sorted out, your provisional ballot is held by state elections officials. No one can be denied a provisional ballot, according to state law.

Find your polling place here. Go here for information about voting in person during COVID-19.

North Carolina’s general election will be on Nov. 8.

Behind the Story

The information in this article was sourced from the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE).

Anna Pogarcic

Anna Pogarcic is a Reporting and Engagement Fellow for EducationNC.