Urgent information for North Carolina voters

In North Carolina, early voting is your best chance to make your that you will be able to vote. Early voting ends on the 5th (Saturday). 

The last days to vote early in North Carolina are Friday the 4th, and Saturday the 5th. If you’re reading this post on Friday or Saturday, please try to vote today if you haven’t voted already.

You can vote today (Friday the 4th) or tomorrow (Friday the 5th) *even if you have not already registered to vote*. If you are not already registered to vote, you will not be able to vote on election day. You must vote during early voting.

You must vote in the county you live in. Every county has at least one early voting site, some have more. You can check where your early voting site is on the North Carolina Board of Election website. http://vt.ncsbe.gov/ossite/

If you are not already registered to vote, you will need to present an ID.   (And it’s a good idea to bring one anyway.) These are IDs North Carolina accepts during on-site registration for early voting:

  • a NC driver’s license
  • photo ID from a government agency
  • student photo ID with a school document showing the student’s address
  • or a utility bill, bank statement, payroll stub, or document from any government agency with your name and current address.

If you are already registered to vote, you do *not* need to show ID in order to vote in person. (But it’s a good idea to bring one anyway.)

If you are trans, the National Center For Trans Equality guide “Voting While Trans: Preparing for Voter ID Laws”  may be helpful. It’s also helpful information for anyone whose identity may be challenged for any reason.

If you have been convicted of a felony in the past: If you have served your sentence and are not currently on probation or parole, you *are* eligible to vote in North Carolina. You do not need to apply for restoration of rights, but you *do* need to re-register to vote (your registration was cancelled when you were convicted). You need to re-register to vote, even if you were registered before. If you haven’t already re-registered to vote since you were convicted, you will need to vote during Early Voting (Which ends Saturday the 5th).

If you have a disability and need assistance voting, North Carolina requires poll workers to ask you whether you want assistance, and if so, who you want it from. They are also explicitly required to accept non-verbal forms of communication, including your answers to yes or no questions that they ask. These rules apply both during early voting and on election day.
From the memo sent to polling officials about communicating with voters with disabilities

“”””A qualified voter seeking assistance at the voting place must provide his or her current name and address and request permission to obtain assistance, stating the reasons.4 The requirement to state a reason for the assistance does not require the voter to provide details of the disability. Certain disabilities may affect voters’ ability to vocalize their request, but federal law still provides that such a disabled voter is entitled to
Accordingly, elections officials should exercise their best
efforts to understand and respond to individual requests for assistance,
however communicated. State administrative law provides that an election
official may prompt the voter, where appropriate.5

An election official may pose “yes” or “no” questions, may allow the voter to point out the person from whom he or she wishes to receive assistance, or may use the Voter Assistance Section of the Station Guide as a visual tool to ensure that voters are enabled to communicate their request for assistance. In many cases, a voter in need of assistance will be accompanied
by another individual. However, unless the voter requests the assistance of the accompanying individual, that individual is not entitled to assist the
voter. The voter may instead request assistance from election judges or an election assistant.

If you are unable to speak, the election official might ask you to point to options from their election rules handbook. It may be worth familiarizing yourself with that manual and making sure that you will be able to point to the choice you intend. (Or printing it out and bringing a copy to point to yourself). If you are unable to say your name and address, it may be a good idea to bring ID. (It is not legal to require it of you when other voters are not required to present ID, but your ID may be the fastest way to effectively communicate your identify and eligibility to the polling official in a way that they will accept).
Disability Rights North Carolina has more information about disability voting rights in NC.

If you are reading this after the 5th and you need to vote on election day itself:
A voter ID law was passed this year, but it was also struck down by the courts.
So people *tried* to require IDs, and some people may be under the impression that you need IDs in order to vote in North Carolina.
Most voters do not need an ID to vote in person.
“If there was a problem with verifying the information on your registration form” you may be asked to present a current photo ID *or* a utility bill, bank statement, payroll stub, or document from a government agency.
So if you have any of those documents, bring them anyway.

There may be people outside the polls trying to trick you into not voting. Some of them may try to pass themselves off as election officials. They might lie to you about the requirements, or they might try to check your ID and tell you that it’s not valid.

Election officials themselves may also illegally try to tell you that you need ID in order to vote, or may illegally reject an ID they’re required to accept.

If anyone, official or not, tells you that you can’t vote, don’t give up on voting. There may be volunteer lawyers outside the polls who can help you assert your right to vote. If you are able to use a phone, you can also call the (nonpartisan) Election Protection Hotline 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) for help http://www.866ourvote.org/pages/2016-live-hotline-hours-and-dates

In any case, do not leave without voting. If all else fails, you have the right to cast a provisional ballot. http://www.ncvoter.org/voting-in-nc/#six

Disability Rights North Carolina has another list of hotlines you can call to report rights violations: 

  • Your local County Board of Elections http://enr.ncsbe.gov/cbesearch/PrintableVersion.aspx
  • The State Board of Elections at 919-733-7173
  • Election Protection
  • English: 888-OUR-VOTE (888-687-8683)
  • Spanish: 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682)
  • Asian Languages: 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683)
  • The National Federation of the Blind Election Day Hotline (1-877-632-1940)
  • Disability Rights NC at 877-235-4210 (888-268-5535 TTY)

tl;dr If you vote in North Carolina and haven’t voted yet, your best chance of being able to cast a vote is to vote on Friday the 4th or Saturday the 5th at in-person Early Voting. Scroll up for information on voting rights in North Carolina during Early Voting and on Election Day, including information for disabled voters.