Rowan Public Library and Board of Elections help residents get registered to vote

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, September 20, 2023

SALISBURY — Election Day is seven weeks away, where many political seats in the county are up for grabs. Who voters decide on for these important positions can end up shaping the future of Rowan County. However, before a person can be eligible to vote, they need to register first.

Sept. 19 is National Voter Registration Day. Every year, the Rowan Public Library observes the holiday by welcoming anyone to stop by one of their four branches to fill out a form and register to vote. The Rowan County Board of Elections has partnered with RPL this year to impart training to its staff mainly due to new changes to the voting procedure.

For 2023, a person in North Carolina who wants to vote in a municipal election will need to show a photo ID. People who are over the age of 65 are allowed to use expired IDs if it was unexpired on the day they turned 65. RPL Adult Services/West Branch Supervisor Lyndsey Maloney says the first thing the library does is check a person’s registration status to confirm if they are already capable of voting or not.

If someone is already registered in a different county, changed their name, or moved, the library assists them in updating their information. Once the form is completed, the library sends it to the Rowan County Board of Elections office to be processed. After 7-10 days, a voter registration card is mailed to the resident.

Getting everyone involved in the voting process gives the results more credibility. Maloney has already witnessed a diverse group of citizens being taking charge when it comes to voting.

“You can pre-register when you’re 16 and 17 years old. So, we’ve had some younger folks pre-register to vote, it gets active once they turn 18. I’ve also seen, especially with this voter ID requirement, we’ve had some folks ask about their older parents or their older siblings and wanting information about that. It’s been a good mixture of people this year,” Maloney said. “We’ve got four locations in the county, kind of in all different areas, so we’re able to help all areas of the county.”

On National Voter Registration Day, Kenneth Stutts, a board member for the Rowan County Board of Elections, visited the Salisbury branch to answer any questions the public might have. Even though the presidential election is not until 2024, Stutts has been dedicated to instilling the significance of voting not just every four years, but every year.

“Local elections are the most important elections because the people you are voting for are going to make the decisions that impact you every single day,” Stutts said.

The deadline to register to vote for municipal elections is Oct. 13 at 5 p.m. RPL will provide voter registration services until that date. Early voting begins Oct. 19 and ends Nov. 4. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.