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Election deadlines dot October, November calendars

Voting is just a month away in Rowan County, which means a bevy of deadlines dot the calendar.
The earliest deadline is voter registration, which ends on Oct. 10. At last count, total registration was over 90,000.
Rowan County Board of Elections specialist Laura Russell said voters don’t need any special documents to register, but would need to remember a driver’s license number and the last four digits of his or her Social Security number.
“They just have to file the form and sign it,” she said. “We mail them a registration card and if that card comes back undeliverable, then that’s how we check it.”
Voters could still register or change information after the Oct. 10 deadline, but he or she wouldn’t be able to vote in the Nov. 4 general election.
If registration forms are mailed to the Rowan County Board of elections, the postmarked date must be Oct. 10 or earlier.
The next significant date is Oct. 23, when one-stop or early voting begins. Rowan County has five early voting locations — Rowan Public Library’s headquarters, Rockwell American Legion Building, Rowan Public Library’s South Branch, Spencer Municipal Building and Cleveland Town Hall. Each location has its own schedule, available on the Rowan County Board of Elections website.
The last day for no excuse one-stop voting is Saturday, Nov. 1.
Absentee voting is already underway. More than 100 people have requested mail-in ballots in Rowan County, but less than 20 have been returned.
Russell said the overall number of returned ballots is low when considering the number sent out, but plenty of time remains.
Nov. 4 is election day.
Russell said voters would be asked if he or she has a form of photo identification at the polls. However, a form of photo identification will not be required to vote until 2016, Russell said.
“Up until 2016, it’ll happen every election,” she said. “And, if they don’t have a form of photo ID, we’ll provide voters will a card that shows how to get one.”
Free North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles Identification Cards are available at local DMV offices with two documents that prove age and identity, a valid Social Security number and a document to prove North Carolina residency.
Nov. 4 also is the final day to mail in absentee ballots.
If voters fail to mail absentee ballots in time Russell said he or she could still vote on Nov. 4.
“As long as we never receive that ballot back, their vote on election day will count,” she said. “If they vote on election day and send the ballot back, we’ll have to cancel one.”
Election years that don’t include a presidential election typically mean lower overall turnout, but Russell said she wouldn’t be able to predict what turnout would look like until early voting begins.
“Usually we wait until the first couple days of one-stop (voting),” she said. Then, we can kind of tell better what election day is going to look like. We definitely look at how many people come out on the first day; that’s a bid indicator.”
She said absentee ballots are also used as an indicator.
Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-707-4246.

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