Absentee voting by mail has started, the ballot request deadline is Feb 25. Details here. VOTER ID IS NOT REQUIRED FOR THE MARCH PRIMARY.
Why are we making a fuss about a primary election, what counts is what happens in November, right? Oh, yeah, there are all those Democrats in the presidential primary, but that’s all that really matters, right? What really happens in a primary, anyway?
This is the first presidential election in which NC will join the Super Tuesday primary on March 3. Our primaries were all in May until 2018, when the NC General Assembly passed S655, a bi-partisan bill that changed even-year primaries to the Tuesday after the first Monday in March, effective this year. The intention is to make NC more relevant in the presidential primaries. Early voting is Feb 13-29; absentee-by-mail voting is available now, ballot requests must be received by your county Board of Elections by Feb 25. VOTER ID IS NOT NEEDED TO VOTE IN THE MARCH PRIMARY!.
This year’s March 3 primary election is when NC voters from each party (including Green, Libertarian, and Constitution) will select which candidates from their party will run in the November general election; some non-partisan races also will be decided. Here's a quick run-down on primary elections:
- In the primary, you can only vote for candidates from the party in which you’re registered - Democrats can only vote for Democratic candidates, Republicans can vote for Republicans, etc.
- Unaffiliated voters can choose a Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian ballot, but only one - they can't vote in the Democratic primary for county commissioners and the Republican primary for US representative, for example. The Green and Constitution parties don't allow unaffiliated voters to vote in their primaries - but there's often only one candidate in these parties, so it's not a big issue.
- This is a semi-closed or hybrid type of primary.
- Winners in NC primary contests must garner at least 30 percent of the vote plus one. If no candidate reaches this total, a runoff election is held on April 21.
- If there's only one candidate from each party running for an office, you won't see that race on your ballot until November.
- If there are two candidates from the same party running for the same office and no candidate from the other party is running, then the March primary is in effect the election.
- Many county school boards - though not all - are non-partisan races, which means March 3 is the only opportunity to vote for your school board.
Watch and share this brief, excellent video about primaries from the Wake County BoE:
You Can Vote and Democracy NC have great overviews of why 2020 is so important - there are big issues that we care about. Read and share! What's on your 2020 ballot, What's on my ballot. And here are five important reminders for a crucial year in American history from NC Policy Watch, a must-read for everyone.
What we can do
Here's my personal list of groups I trust that are doing great work in NC. There's something for everyone, from door-knocking to phone and text banking to behind-the-scenes administrative support. Pick something that works for YOU and DO IT!
- Flip NC is canvassing in flippable counties near the Triangle and Triad.
- Neighbors on Call canvasses in the Triangle and Triad. You can meet NoC folks in your area and learn about their 2020 plans at "Now What?" events across the Triangle, Feb 3 & 4. Details and RSVP link.
- The non-partisan group, You Can Vote, is rolling with multiple voter registration events and volunteer & photo ID trainings around the state. They have a great library of voter info handouts in English and Spanish that you can print and share locally. Find even more under Voter Guide and Students.
- The non-partisan voting rights group, Democracy NC, has lots of options to get involved. Find their up-to-date info to share about 2020 voter photo ID here. Maybe you'd like to sign up to be a local Board of Elections monitor or a vote protector at the polls in March or Nov!
- Democracy NC will send you quantities of their Hot Tips for Voting in NC's 2020 Primary wallet card for free. Order them here.
- Use the NC Democratic party site to find out what they're doing and learn about canvassing and phone-banking in your county.
- If phone calls are your thing and you're in the Triangle, check County-to-County. They're phone-banking to Democratic voters in "red" districts to get out the vote.
Check out the next NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation: SCOTUS takes on abortion and LGBTQ equality. Tues, Jan 28, 12N, $10 online, $15 at the door, includes lunch. I've never been disappointed in one of these Crucial Conversation talks, this is a personal recommendation.
We'll be sharing lots of info about voting over the next few weeks, so check back. It's up to us to make our voices heard in this primary!
Tags: (2020 elections, NCGA, NCPol)
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