Updated Feb. 13, 2016, 8:49 a.m. with corrected early voting days.
By Peter Vankevich
Voting for the March 15 primary election will take place in the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department, 822 Irvin Garrish Hwy, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Ocracokers will also have an opportunity to vote early from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 4 and 5, also at the OFVD.
The deadline to register to vote in the primary is Feb.19 (25 days before the election). To start the registration process online, click here.
One can also register to vote at any DMV office. Absentee voting by mail for this primary began on Jan. 25, and the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot is March 8.
As it stands, although voters in North Carolina will be required to present a photo ID to vote in any election (see list of acceptable forms below), voters might still be able to vote if they don’t have sanctioned photo ID.
The law allows for voters who are unable to obtain an acceptable photo ID due to a “reasonable impediment” to vote a provisional ballot at the polls.
Examples of a reasonable impediment include, but are not limited to, the lack of proper documents due to:
- family obligations
- transportation problems
- work schedule
- illness or disability
Voters without an acceptable photo ID must also:
- Sign a declaration describing their impediment.
- Provide their date of birth and last four digits of their Social Security number
- Present their current voter registration card or a copy of an acceptable document bearing their name and address.
Acceptable documents include a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government-issued document.
The provisional ballot will be counted when the information on the declaration is verified and all other eligibility requirements are met.
The North Carolina photo ID requirement has been challenged in federal court by the NAACP and other plaintiffs. U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder (Middle District) handling the case has not yet handed down his ruling.
According to a story by By Gary D. Robertson of The Associated Press in the Fayetteville Observer:
“The trial began Monday, Jan. 25, with Shroeder hearing testimony from black residents worried that they and others would not be able to get the ID needed to cast the ballots in person. They argued that the law was enacted to intentionally discriminate, violating both the Constitution and the U.S. Voting Rights Act.
“The law will almost assuredly be implemented for the first time in the upcoming primary. That’s because Schroeder earlier this month refused the NAACP’s request to stop its enforcement before the trial began, in part because he said the plaintiffs didn’t appear likely to succeed at trial.”
For this election cycle, the following list details acceptable forms of photo ID:
- N.C. driver’s license
- North Carolina ID card issued by DMV
- U.S. passport
- Military or veterans ID
- Tribal ID from a federally or state recognized tribe
- Out-of-state driver’s license (only valid if voter registration occurred within 90 days of the election)
North Carolina voters who do not already have an acceptable ID can get one for free from the DMV. Click here.
Registered unaffiliated voters who want to vote in the primary can ask for a Republican, Democratic, Libertarian or Nonpartisan ballot. Their choice does not change their unaffiliated status or obligate them to vote for a party’s candidates in the General Election.
For more information on voting issues, go to: