Early voting begins today. Here’s what you need to know.

Early voting and election info, LGBT-friendly endorsements and more

Early voting begins today in North Carolina. On the ballot are a variety of local offices, state legislative offices, congressional elections, a race for U.S. Senate and several judicial offices.

Here’s what you need to know…


Dates

Oct. 23: Early voting begins (click here to search for locations).
Oct. 28: Last day to request an absentee ballot by mail.
Nov. 1, 1 p.m.: Early voting ends.
Nov. 4: Last day to return absentee ballot by mail.
Nov. 4: Election Day.


Voter registration

The last day to register to vote was Oct. 10. Same-day voter registration will not be allowed. That means if you missed the Oct. 10 cutoff, you won’t be able to vote. The change was made in new voting legislation backed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

Click here to check your voter registration.
The search will also give you your voting location/precinct, as well as a list of your various districts (like city council, county commission, state and federal House/Senate districts) and a sample ballot.


Endorsements and voter guides

qnotes will not be issuing endorsements in the election this fall due to the number of candidates running for various offices this year and limited resources at our disposal at this time.

However, several organizations have issued a variety of endorsements and voter guides of their own. In particular, we’re highlighting those from LGBT/friendly organizations. (All links open in new windows to external websites.)

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Equality North Carolina
U.S. House/Senate, North Carolina House/Senate, Judicial races

Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee (MeckPAC) (PDF)
Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, Clerk of Superior Court

Replacements, Ltd PAC (Guilford, Alamance, Randolph and Rockingham Counties)
U.S. House/Senate, North Carolina House/Senate, Judicial and local city/county races

Democracy NC Voter Guides
Guides for U.S. House/Senate, North Carolina House/Senate, Judicial and local city/county races for Cumberland, Forysth, Guilford, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Pitt and Wake Counties. Guides are soon expected for Harnet-Johnston-Lee and Watauga-Ashe Counties.


Referenda

Constitutional amendment
No, state voters aren’t weighing in on marriage again, but there’s an equally important constitutional amendment that would significantly alter the way defendants in criminal cases experience their trials. The amendment would allow defendants not facing a potential death sentence to waive their right to a jury trial. The defendant’s fate would rest with the judge, who would alone determine guilt or innocence. We encourage you to read this non-partisan, scholarly report from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Government on the proposed amendment. It is long, but if nothing else, reading the one-page executive summary will give you some informed insight into how you might vote on the amendment.

Mecklenburg County sales tax
Voters in Mecklenburg County will be asked whether to approve a quarter-cent ($0.0025) increase in the local sales tax. You can choose “FOR” to approve the increase or “AGAINST” to vote against the increase. The additional tax would bring local sales tax up from 7.25 cents to 7.50 cents. The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners have adopted a policy that directs revenue from the quarter-cent increase to be directed to: Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (80%), Central Piedmont Community College (7.5%), Arts & Science Council (7.5%), Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (5%). Read more about the sales tax referendum here.


Election coverage

qnotes has several election-related news pieces scheduled.

Our Oct. 24 print edition, which will also be published online, will feature Q&As with two candidates, one who is gay, Judge John Arrowood, and the other who is a longtime, locally-involved LGBT ally, Margie Storch.

Arrowood is running for a seat on the North Carolina Court of Appeals. If elected, he would be the first openly gay candidate elected statewide in North Carolina and across the South. Arrowood’s race is particularly important, as he is running amid a field of 18 other candidates.

Storch is a longtime ally and employee of Belmont’s House of Mercy. She is running for North Carolina House District 88.

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Our other planned coverage — to be published online only — will include discussion of the various races and candidates, as well as the issues up for debate in this year’s election season.


Common questions

Do I need a photo ID to vote?
No. This requirement, including in Republican-backed voter legislation changes, does not go into effect until 2016.

What if I have moved?
If you move, you should always update your voter registration. North Carolina law requires a voter vote at the precinct determined by your home address as of 30 days before the election. For the purposes of voting, you should vote based on your home address as of Oct. 5, 2014.

What if I didn’t update my address after my move?
Courtesy North Carolina Board of Elections:

If you moved within your county and did not update your address by the voter registration deadline (October 10, 2014), you may update your address and vote using the following methods:

Absentee Ballot By-Mail: You may enter your new address on the State Absentee Ballot Request Form. The county board of elections will update your address and issue the correct ballot based on your legal voting residence.

One-stop Absentee Voting (Early Voting): Advise the one-stop worker of your correct address. The one-stop worker will enter your address into the voter registration system and you will be issued the correct ballot based on your legal voting residence.

Election Day: On Election Day, you may choose one of the following options:
1. You may go to the proper precinct based on your new address in the county to receive the correct ballot based on your legal voting residence.
2. You may go to a central location in your county that is determined by your county board of elections. At the central location, you will be able to update your address and vote(.) Contact your county board of elections to determine the location of their central voting location.
3. You may vote in your old precinct. You will be required to vote a provisional ballot and the ballot will only count for those contests for which you are qualified to vote based on your legal voting residence.

What if I have other questions?
Check out the state board of elections’ extensive FAQ.

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

One Reply to “Early voting begins today. Here’s what you need to know.”

  1. michael van olden November 2, 2014 at 12:52 am

    Hey Matt… Thanks for putting together this directory for us. It was very helpful in my research on the candidates.

Comments are closed.