One-stop early voting has started in North Carolina, with sites open in all 100 counties. With an early voting period that runs from October 15 through October 31, voters get the opportunity to avoid long lines on election day, update their address or registration, or register to vote for the first time, even if they missed the registration deadline earlier this month.
All NC early voting sites will be open from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. this week. On the last day of early voting, Saturday, Oct. 31, the sites will only be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tips to help you vote early in person
- Same-Day Registration: If you want to take advantage of same-day registration during early voting, you’ll need to bring proof of your residency. You must provide a document with your current name and address, which could include a state-issued license, government-issued photo identification, utility bill, bank statement, or college/university ID card with proof of campus residency. A full list of acceptable identifying documents can be found on the Board of Elections website.
- Absentee Ballot Drop-Off: If you’ve already requested an absentee ballot, you may drop it off at any early voting site in your county, in person. Keep in mind that you’ll still have to wait in line with other voters. You can also return it to your local board of elections or a designated drop-off site by 5pm on Election Day. You can also mail in your ballot as long as it’s postmarked by 5pm on Election Day and in the designated envelope. At this point, it’s too late for you to request an absentee ballot, so make your early voting plan for this week instead!You can use BallotTrax to track and make sure your absentee ballot was received. If your absentee ballot was rejected for any reason, you can take advantage of in-person early voting instead. And if you requested an absentee ballot just in case, but decide to opt for in-person voting, you can do so. You’ll just get a notification that your ballot was “spoiled” – which means the system worked to ensure you only voted once!
- Safety and Wait Times: North Carolina has taken many steps to make voting safer during the pandemic. Due to COVID-19, poll workers and election officials are instituting rigorous cleaning procedures, handing out individual pens, using plexiglass barriers, and more to protect voters.
Historically, if you want to avoid lines, it’s best to vote mid-morning or mid-afternoon during the workweek. Saturday is likely to be one the busiest voting days. If you can, avoid the crowds and go with your family or pod this week!
Early data suggests this year may bring record voter turnout. More than 2 million North Carolinians have already cast their vote with early voting. Total turnout is already more than 40%. As you finalize your plans, ask yourself: who can you reach out to and bring with you? Challenge yourself to reach out to at least three friends when you vote.
Thank you for being a voter!
As child advocates who care about the future of our state, we must ensure that everyone who can vote, has the access and opportunity to cast a vote this year. Every. Vote. Counts.
Being a voter is a powerful way to advocate and show up for kids.
OK… what are you waiting for? Head to the polls, be the voice for North Carolina’s kids! Tag us in your voting selfies so we can send you a virtual high five!
For more information on early voting, or to prepare to vote on Election Day, visit the NC Board of Elections website. You can look up your sample ballot on the NC Board of Elections website using the Voter Search tool.