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The basics of absentee voting

By Andie Foley
andie.foley@salisburypost.com

With the Oct. 30 deadline to request absentee ballots now less than one month away, many remain uncertain of requirements of both requests and the solicited ballots.

Forms can be downloaded from county Board of Elections website at https://www.rowancountync.gov/191/Elections or picked up in person. Any registered voter can request a form.

Requests require the voter’s full name, residential address, date of birth and an identification number such as a driver’s license number, DMV-issued identification card number, or the last four digits of a social security number.

If one of these numbers is not provided, then the request must include a copy of a current and valid photo identification or a document that shows the name and residential address of the voter: a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document.

The form must be signed by the voter or the voter’s near relative or qualified legal guardian.

Completed requests can be mailed to the Rowan County Board of Elections at 1935 Jake Alexander Blvd. W, Suite D10, Salisbury, NC 28147, emailed to rowan.boe@ncsbe.gov or faxed to 704-216-8145.

The requests can also be delivered in person.

Elections director Nancy Evans said that county Board of Elections workers usually respond to these requests within 24 hours of their reception.

Workers have sent as many as 300 of the solicited forms by mail each day this cycle, she said.

Absentee ballots require two witness signatures unless signed in front of a notary, in which case only one signature is required.

Witnesses can be anyone over 18, said Evans, regardless of whether or not they are a registered voter, county resident, or relative of the person casting a ballot.

Employees from nursing homes or nursing facilities and candidates are prohibited from being witnesses, but Evans said the county has a special team to offer assistance to those in need at inpatient facilities.

“We have a very active Multipartisan Assistance Team,” she said. This team, consisting of 10 to 12 members, schedules times to visit local care facilities to help new residents register, assist in ballot requests, and act as witnesses when completing absentee ballots.

But the team is limited to these facilities, said Evans. They can’t make home visits for the homebound who find themselves in need of witnesses.

In those cases, Evans suggested voters reach out to trusted sources, or ask a family member to stop by with a friend.

Those in need of witnesses may also take advantage of curbside voting during early voting periods or on election day. Witnesses are not needed in this case, as they are voting in person, said Evans.

Completed ballots must be sealed in an envelope and mailed or delivered to the county office by election day, or Nov. 6.

Only the voter or the voter’s near relative (spouse, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepparent, stepchild or qualified legal guardian) may deliver an absentee ballot in person.

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