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Last Week for Early Voting; Tips and Information on How You Can Get It Done

Avoid lines on Election Day by voting early.

One Stop Early Voting ends Saturday, February 29th at 3pm. You can avoid waiting in line on Election Day by visiting one of our seven early voting sites around Watauga County.

Not registered to vote? You can also register to vote during the early voting period at any of the sites. You’ll need to bring proof of residence in Watauga County.

Conveniently located in Foscoe, Deep Gap, Meat Camp, Sugar Grove, Blowing Rock, and Boone, voters that are registered to vote in Watauga County can vote at ANY site, no matter where you live.

If you have moved recently and not updated your voter registration, your information can be easily updated at the early voting sites.

For more information or questions, please call the Board of Elections at (828)265-8061.

Hot Tips and a Hotline for Voting in the Primary from Bob Hall

All the chatter about hacking voting machines and fake ads can be overwhelming, but don’t become confused or discouraged. Here are some tips so you can use your precious right to vote.

First, there’s a free hotline number to call if you have any question about where, when, or how to vote or if you experience any problem when you’re at the polls. The number is 888-OUR-VOTE or 888-687-8683.

Second, you can preview your actual ballot by following the steps at demnc.co/lookup. You can take a list on paper or your cell phone into the polls to help remember your choices. But don’t talk on your phone, and no selfies! Photos are not allowed inside the polls.

Third, you can use any early voting location in your county to vote until February 29, but on March 3 be sure to go to your own precinct’s polling place. Find the hours and locations for early voting at ncvoter.org/early.  Find your March 3 voting place at demnc.co/lookup.

Fourth, you can register as a new voter in your county during early voting (not on Election Day).  It’s smart to use early voting because you can resolve any registration issue at that time and avoid the chance of bad weather on Election Day.

Fifth, you don’t need a photo ID to vote.  But if you register during early voting or if your registration was not fully verified, you’ll be asked to show an identifying document, such as a utility bill, government document with your name and address, or a student ID with a school document showing your address. It’s always good to carry an ID with you.

Sixth, if you have an outstanding traffic ticket, civil fine, or misdemeanor conviction, you can still vote.  A citizen convicted of a felony in any state may register and vote in North Carolina after serving his or her sentence, including probation or parole. No special document is needed.

Seventh, a near family member may help you vote at the polls. Voters with a disability or reading hardship may get help from anyone except their employer or union agent.

Finally, if your name doesn’t appear on the registration rolls or you have any problem when you vote, you should be offered a provisional ballot – ask for it and for a way to learn later if the ballot was counted or, if not, the reason why.

There are more tips at ncvoter.org in English and Spanish, the all-purpose resource for voting.

It’s against the law to intimidate voters or intentionally distribute false information about the voting process.  Remember, if you have any questions or problems at the polls, or see suspicious activity, call the nonpartisan voter hotline at 888-OUR-VOTE.

Reminder: Photographing a voted ballot is against the law

The State Board of Elections is reminding voters that North Carolina law prohibits taking photographs of or videotaping voted ballots. N.C.G.S. § 163-166.3

Voters are allowed to have phones or electronic devices with them while voting as long as those devices are not used to photograph or videotape a ballot or communicate with anyone via voice, text, email or any other method.

“We understand wanting to photograph yourself voting, especially with the popularity of selfies,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “However, there are legal ways to display your voting pride, such as wearing your ‘I Voted’ sticker or taking a picture outside of the precinct.”

Photographing a marked ballot is illegal in part because such photographs could be used as proof of a vote for a candidate in a vote-buying scheme. Electronic communication while voting is prohibited because of limits on voter assistance and to prevent disruptions in the voting enclosure.

Voters may bring voting guides, notes and other materials into the voting booth. They also may use electronic devices to access a slate card or candidate information, provided they don’t use the devices to communicate with anyone.

Additional reminders: Primary Election Day is Tuesday, March 3. Early voting is open each day this week through Saturday. To find an early voting site in your county, use the lookup tool at vt.ncsbe.gov/ossite/ or view a complete list of sites and hours here: tinyurl.com/w2bwoct.

“Early voting is open every day this week in each county in North Carolina,” Brinson Bell said. “Voters should be prepared for longer lines later in the week, as the last two days of early voting are typically among the busiest.”

In a primary election, voters select which candidates will appear on the ballot for a given political party in the general election in November. For example, the winner of a Democratic Party primary will be that party’s nominee on the general election ballot in November.

Voters who are registered with one of the five recognized political parties (Constitution, Democratic, Green, Libertarian, or Republican) may only cast a ballot in that party’s primary election. Unaffiliated voters may request a Democratic, Libertarian, or Republican ballot, or nonpartisan ballot, if available.

Unaffiliated voters may not vote ballots of the Constitution or Green parties, as those parties conduct closed primaries. Selecting a party’s ballot does not change a voter’s unaffiliated status.