On Friday, North Carolina’s State Board of Elections began mailing absentee voter ballots to those who had submitted a request ahead of the March primaries. Under a new state law, SB747, the return deadline for absentee ballots is now 7:30 pm on Election Day.
Any eligible voter in North Carolina can request an absentee ballot through the N.C. Absentee Ballot Portal. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is 5 pm on Tuesday, February 27th, which is one week before the primary election. Voters can request an absentee, military/overseas, accessible for visually impaired, or a sample ballot.
A photo identification is now required when casting a ballot in North Carolina, including by mail.
“Voters who vote by mail now must include a photocopy of an acceptable ID when returning their ballot, or they may complete an ID Exception Form, which is included in their absentee materials,” according information released by the State Board of Elections. “The voter places the photocopy of ID or ID Exception Form in a pocket on the outside of the ballot container envelope, which is then placed in an outer return envelope to protect the privacy of the voter. The copy of the photo ID does not have to be in color, but it must be readable.”
More information on photo ID requirements can be found here.
On Sunday, a federal judge blocked a provision in SB747, dealing with same-day voter registration. District Judge Thomas Schroeder ruled that elections officials cannot disqualify a same-day voter’s ballot based only on receiving one piece of undeliverable mail sent to the voter’s address. He said elections officials should develop a process providing affected voters with notice and an opportunity to be heard.
According to a press release issued Monday by House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, the Sunday injunction does not impact the majority of the election changes in the new state law.
“The vast majority of Senate Bill 747 is still in effect including increased poll observer access, bans on special interest money funding election offices, and making election day the last day to receive absentee ballots,” Moore and Campaign Finance Reform Chairman Rep. Grey Mills, R-Iredell, said in a joint statement released on Monday. “The court order requires relatively minor changes to one small part of the bill, and we are working with our attorneys and the State Board of Elections to ensure that the entire bill is in effect before the primary and general elections this year. We will never stop fighting for election integrity on behalf of North Carolina’s voters.”
In-person early voting begins on February 15thand ends at 3 pm on March 2nd, with same-day voter registration available. North Carolina has an open primary system.
“Voters registered with one of the recognized political parties (Democratic, Green, Libertarian, No Labels, or Republican) may only cast a ballot in that party’s primary election,” according to the State Board of Elections. “The Green Party and No Labels Party do not have North Carolina primaries in 2024. For the 2024 primary, unaffiliated voters may request a Democratic, Libertarian, or Republican ballot, or a nonpartisan ballot, if available.”
Any change in party affiliation in a primary must be completed by the voter registration deadline, which is 5pm on Friday, February 5th.
With the March 5th primary fast approaching, the RNC is encouraging voters to vote early in-person or by mail. The RNC has launched the ‘Bank Your Vote’ initiative to encourage voting ahead of Election Day.
“Republicans have traditionally opted to vote on election day, rather than making use of one-stop-absentee voting,” said Jim Stirling, research fellow at the John Locke Foundation’s Civitas Center for Public Integrity when the RNC initiative launched. “Democrats, on the other hand, have opted to heavily promote the use of both early and mail in voting over the years and have seen their participation in these methods of voting rise due to it.”
The deadline to register to be eligible to vote in the 2024 primary is 5 pm on February 9th.
More information on requesting an absentee ballot and voting requirements can be found here.
The post What voters need to know ahead of North Carolina’s primary election first appeared on Carolina Journal.