Early voting is underway and ends on Nov 3. Find your county's early voting sites and schedules. People can register to vote during early voting, but not on Election Day, Nov 6. Use the link to find out what you need to take with you to register. NO PHOTO ID IS NEEDED TO VOTE! To vote AGAINST all six constitutional amendments, you must mark your ballot "against" for each; there's a false rumor that not marking your ballot is the same as voting against - that is NOT true. Take your family, friends, co-workers - make it a poll party, take a selfie!
Guess what, there's a lot of incorrect information on the internet, and that includes some of the info going around about provisional ballots. We're interrupting our series on local elections to set the record straight. There are lots of reasons to be suspicious about voter suppression - and there is no evidence that anyone is burning provisional ballots on the way to the county Boards of Elections (BoE) in NC. It's even possible in the troll-riden world of the internet that the rumors about provisional and absentee ballots being discarded are coming from people who want to interfere with this election, then being picked up and shared by unsuspecting folks like you and me who are trying to be helpful.
The BEST thing you can do to be sure your vote is counted is to vote during early voting, now through Nov 3 in most counties. Check your county's early voting schedule. If there is any problem with your registration, you can correct it during early voting and vote on the same day with a regular ballot. If you have any problems voting, call 888-OUR-VOTE while you're at the poll to talk to a lawyer who will try to help.
You CANNOT update your registration on Nov 6, Election Day. If there's any issue with your registration (eg, you've not reported a change of address, you go the wrong polling place), you will have to cast a provisional ballot. Here's the official info about provisional voting in NC:
A provisional ballot is offered to voters when there are questions about:
a voter's qualification to vote,
the voter’s eligibility to vote in a given election, or
the voter’s eligibility to vote a specific ballot style (meaning your specific voting districts).
Provisional voting is a mechanism by which a citizen is guaranteed the opportunity to cast a ballot in the event that such questions have been raised. In that case, the citizen is permitted to cast a provisional ballot, which is held aside pending research into the issue to be resolved. Findings are presented to the county board members, who make final determinations. Election results are not finalized until all provisional ballots that are eligible have been included in the total count.
Provisional voting is fail-safe voting. State law mandates that each person who presents to vote be given that opportunity, whether by regular or provisional ballot. In no circumstance will a voter be turned away.
If you have to cast a provisional ballot, you can check its status here. Same with absentee ballots. If it doesn't get counted, you can contact your county BoE to find out why and appeal the decision.
There ARE reasons that provisional ballots aren't valid and don't count - these are based in state law. Valid provisional and absentee ballots ARE reflected in the final certified vote count; there's a rumor that they only count if they make a difference in the outcome, and that's not true.
Here's a good fact sheet on provisional voting from Democracy NC.
There's lots more great information about election protection on the NC Voter website, including:
- Election Day problem hotline info for many languages; English is 888-OUR-VOTE
- false rumors, eg, you cannot vote if you have unpaid traffic tickets, or unpaid child support, or defaulted on your mortgage – these are all false.
- your voting rights
- how to report confusing or wrong information you hear on the phone or get by mail or any other means
There are issues with provisional ballots that arise from confusing and inconsistent state laws: NPR, Mother Jones, US Election Assistance Commission. We're addressing only NC provisional ballots here.
Please share accurate information about provisional voting! We don't want people to throw away their opportunity to support the candidates they choose because they incorrectly assume their provisional ballot won't be counted.