What you need to know as voting draws to a close

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 30, 2018

SALISBURY — Early voting for the 2018 general election will end Saturday. If you’re still looking to snag your “I voted” sticker before Election Day next Tuesday or you’re trying to find more information about where to go the day of, here are some answers to commonly asked questions.

Q: Who can vote at one-stop locations?

A: All eligible, registered voters in Rowan County can vote at any of three one-stop voting sites.

Q: Who is eligible to vote?

A: To be eligible to vote, you must:

• Be a U.S. citizen.

• Be at least 18 years old or be 18 by Tuesday, which is Election Day.

• Have lived in North Carolina and in the precinct in which you are voting for at least 30 days before the election.

•  Not be currently serving a felony sentence. If you were previously convicted of a felony, you must have completed your sentence, including probation and parole. No special document is required.

Q: I saw the voter registration deadline has already passed. Can I still register to vote?

A: Yes. Voters may register and vote at any of Rowan County’s three early-voting locations.

Q: How can I register to vote at one-stop sites?

A: Tell the polling staff you want to register. The workers will guide you through the process of filling out the necessary form. Information required will include your name, birthdate, physical address, mailing address and more.

Same-day registrants must attest to their eligibility to vote and provide proof of residence. Attesting your eligibility to vote is as simple as signing a completed registration form. Knowingly attesting to false information is a felony.

As proof of residency, voters must provide any one of the following bearing their current name and address:

• A North Carolina driver’s license.

• Other photo identification issued by a government agency, as long as the card bears the voter’s current name and current address.

• A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document showing the voter’s name and address.

• A current college or university photo identification card paired with proof of living on campus.

Q: Where can I vote?

A: From now through Saturday, vote at any of Rowan County’s three one-stop sites:

• Rowan County Board of Elections Office, 1935 Jake Alexander Blvd. W., Salisbury.

• Rockwell American Legion Building, 8580 U.S. 52, Rockwell.

• Rowan Public Library South Branch, 920 Kimball Road, China Grove.

On Tuesday, vote at your polling place.

Q: When can I vote?

A: Vote at any one-stop, early-voting site from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today through Friday. The sites also will open for from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

On Tuesday, Election Day, vote at your polling station from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Q: I’m registered in Rowan County but have recently moved to another county address. Can I vote in my new district?

A: Yes, provided you have lived at your new address for more than 30 days, having moved on or before Sept. 7. The polling staff can assist you in updating your registration, though Elections Director Nancy Evans suggests taking advantage of early voting to update registration and avoid casting a provisional ballot.

Q: How do I find my polling place?

A: Go to https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/ and fill out the online form.

Q: Will I need an ID to vote?

A: Though a provision for voter ID is on the ballot this year as a proposed constitutional amendment, North Carolina’s voter ID requirement was overturned by a federal court in 2017.

Because of this, voters do not need to show an ID to vote, excluding two possible situations:

• If you use same-day registration.

• If there was a problem with verifying the information on your previously returned registration form.

If there was a problem verifying the information on your registration form, you must show any current photo ID or any of the following documents:

• A utility bill (cellphone, electric, cable, etc.).

• A bank statement or payroll stub.

• A document from any government agency (a bill, permit, letter, etc.).

Q: I am currently serving a sentence or on parole or probation for a felony. Can I vote?

A: People with felony convictions are prohibited from voting or registering to vote until they’ve completed all terms of their felony sentences, including probation or parole. It is a crime to attempt to register or vote while serving a felony sentence.

Q: I’m excited about voting. Can I take a selfie in the voting booth?

A: North Carolina law prohibits taking photographs of marked ballots.

Voters are allowed to have phones or or electronic devices with them while voting as long as the devices are not used to photograph a ballot or communicate with anyone by voice, text, email or any other method.

“We understand the desire to photograph yourself voting, especially in the age of selfies,” said Kim Westbrook Strach, executive director of the State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement. “However, there are legal ways to show your voting pride, such as wearing your ‘I Voted’ sticker.”

Photographing a marked ballot is illegal in part because the photos could be used as proof of a vote for a particular candidate in a vote-buying scheme. Electronic communication while voting is prohibited because of limits on voter assistance and to prevent disruptions in the voting enclosure.

Voters may bring voter guides, notes and other materials into the voting booth. They also may use electronic devices to access a slate card or candidate information, provided they don’t use devices to communicate with anyone.

Q: How can I check my voter registration before I go to the polls?

A: Check your registration status by visiting https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/ and entering your information in the required fields.

Q: Can I still request a ballot by mail?

A: Tuesday, Oct. 30, is the last day to request an absentee mail ballot.

Q: What happens if I have to cast a provisional ballot at the polls?

A: Your provisional ballot will be preserved and protected in a certification envelope until your voting qualifications are determined. If you are determined qualified, your ballot will be counted on canvas day. You will receive a paper with information on how to check your ballot’s status when you vote.

Q: I’m a college student living on campus in Rowan County. Can I vote here?

A: According to state law, on-campus college students may declare their dormitory as their residence “so long as a student intends to make the student’s home in the community where the student is physically present for the purpose of attending school.”

The student must have no intent to return to his former home after graduation but doesn’t need to intend to stay in the college community beyond graduation.

A Board of Elections memo says that same-day student registrants can verify their residency by presenting any document “originating with the educational institution and containing their name and on-campus housing address or facility name.”

Acceptable documents may be those issued by either public or private schools and include correspondence, an invoice, transcript, or a printout or screen shot from an official registration or housing portal showing the student’s name and on-campus housing address.

The State Board of Elections also allows schools to voluntarily provide elections officials with a list of all students who live in a campus housing facility. Those lists may be referenced in conjunction with a valid student photo identification card presented by the registrant.

Such lists may not be used if they do not differentiate between residents at different campus housing facilities.