Gearing Up for the Primary Elections

OLIVIA CHIPI

The primary elections are March 3. Here’s some information about voting in the upcoming primaries: 

For out-of-state students:

You can still vote even if your residential address is not in North Carolina! You can either register to vote with your Salem College mailing address or if you are registered to vote in another state, apply for an absentee ballot by mail. 

Depending on what state you live in, the deadline to request and mail your absentee ballot may vary. Texas, for example, will accept applications for ballot by mail until Feb. 21 and the last day to receive ballots by mail is March 3. 

Early voting:

According to the website of the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE), early voting allows any registered voter (registered to vote in North Carolina) to cast a ballot at any one-stop voting site in the county. 

There are 11 sites for early voting in Forsyth County, including Winston Salem State University’s Anderson Center and the Forsyth County Government Center. Early voting begins on Feb. 13 and ends Feb. 29. 

The last day to register to vote in North Carolina is Feb. 7. However, unregistered voters can register at these one-stop sites during the early voting period, and immediately vote at the same location. Fill out the application form and supply your current Salem College ID card and proof of campus habitation. 

Registering to vote:

Again, Salem College students can register and vote in Forsyth County. Fill out the application form (available online at ncsbe.gov) and mail it to the Forsyth County Board of Elections Office at 201 N. Chestnut Street, or you can go to their office and fill one out in person. Remember the last day to register to vote is Feb. 7! 

When you register to vote in North Carolina, you can choose one of five recognized political parties: Constitution, Democratic, Green, Libertarian, and Republican. You can also choose not to register with any party and vote unaffiliated. 

North Carolina’s primaries are semi-closed. If you are registered with a party, you can only vote for your party’s primary, though non-partisan offices for your district will be on your ballot. Unaffiliated voters may choose a Democratic, Libertarian, Republican or nonpartisan ballot if it’s available. The Green and Constitution Parties have not opened their primaries to unaffiliated voters as of 2020, according to the NCSBE website. 

Polling places:

If you’ve registered to vote using your Salem College address and you missed the early voting period, don’t sweat it. Your polling place, according to the NCSBE website, is at Christ Moravian Church at 919 W. Academy Street. 

If you are registered to vote elsewhere in North Carolina, the polling place lookup at ncsbe.gov can help you find where you need to go during the primary elections on March 3. 

Things to remember:

Whether you vote early or on Super Tuesday, as of December 31, no photo ID is required to vote in the March 2020 primary elections. 

On March 3, polling places will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. If you are in the door by 7:30 p.m., you can still cast your ballot, even if you have to stay later to vote. 

For more information on how to register to vote and deadlines, check out Forsyth County’s Pocket Guide for Voters available online.

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