North Carolina, You Vote on Tuesday! Here’s What You Need to Know.

Graphic via Desirée Tapia for Cardinal & Pine

By Keya Vakil

February 28, 2020

Unsure of poll hours, whether or not you need an ID, or if you’ll be impacted by the new district lines? We’ve got you covered.

The Democratic presidential primary may feel like it’s been going on forever (and it has), but voters are finally making their voices heard. On Tuesday, North Carolinians will join the chorus when they head to the polls.

North Carolina is one of 14 states that will hold primaries on Super Tuesday, March 3. Early voting has already been underway in the state since Feb. 13 and more than 455,000 voters have already cast their ballots. But most residents will still vote on Election Day, so Cardinal & Pine has put together a quick, one-stop shop for all your Election Day questions.

Where do I go to vote?

Your voting location is determined by the address listed on your voter registration. You can look up your polling location here.

What hours are the polls open?

Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

How do I know if I’m registered to vote?

Check here

If I’m not registered to vote, is it too late to register to vote on Tuesday?

Yes. Technically, the deadline to register to vote in North Carolina is 25 days before the date of an election. But, you can register to vote and cast a ballot at a one-stop early voting site in your county using same-day registration. Here’s the catch though: Early voting ends Saturday, Feb. 29, and you cannot register using same-day registration on Tuesday.

If you opt to register using same-day registration before early voting ends, you will need to complete a Voter Registration Application and provide proof of residence showing your current name and address. Acceptable identifying documents include a North Carolina driver’s license or other government-issued ID, utility bill, bank statement, or a student photo ID with a school document showing the student’s address. 

Do I need to show photo ID to vote?

No. Photo ID is not required for the March 3 election. A federal district court issued a ruling in December, blocking North Carolina’s voter photo ID requirement from being implemented.

Will I get to vote for a presidential nominee?

Yes! Voters will select their candidates in the presidential primaries for the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Constitution, and Green parties in North Carolina. 

President Trump is expected to coast to a victory on the Republican side, while the Democratic contest remains up in the air. Recent polls of North Carolina voters have shown Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont holding a narrow lead over former Vice President Joe Biden and billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

What other races are on the ballot?

There will also be Democratic and Republican primaries for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Thom Tillis. Tillis is facing three primary challengers on the Republican side, while current State Sen. Erica Smith (D-Beaufort) and former State Sen. Cal Cunningham lead the five-candidate field in the Democratic primary.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to cruise to victory in his primary, while the state’s Republican Lt. Governor Dan Forest and State Rep. Holly Grange (R-New Hanover) are battling it out for the chance to face Cooper in November.

There will also be primaries for 10 of the state’s 13 seats in the House of Representatives, lieutenant governor, state attorney general, the state legislature, and dozens of local races.

Do North Carolina’s redrawn congressional districts affect me?

If you live in Raleigh or around Greensboro, they might! 

But first, some background: In 2019, North Carolina’s congressional district maps were ruled unconstitutional and ordered to be redrawn. The state’s maps had previously been among the most gerrymandered in the nation, meaning they were drawn to benefit one political party over the other. In North Carolina, Republicans drew the maps to benefit themselves, leading the state to have three of the 10 most-gerrymandered districts in the country. 

The state’s new district maps will level the playing field a bit more for Democrats in the 2nd and 6th districts. The new 2nd district is centered in Raleigh, while the 6th district will include Democrats previously split among three Republican districts around Greensboro.

Which party’s primaries can I vote in?

North Carolina state law provides for semi-closed primaries, so in most cases, you must be registered as a party member in order to participate in that party’s primary. So if you’re a Democrat, you can only vote in the Democratic party’s primaries. If you’re a Republican, you can only vote in the Republican party’s primaries. 

If you registered as an unaffiliated voter, you may choose to participate in either the Democratic, Libertarian, or Republican primaries. You may not participate in the Constitution Party or Green Party’s primaries, because those parties have not opened their primaries to unaffiliated voters.

What if I’ve recently moved and haven’t updated my voter registration?

If you’ve moved within the same county in the last 30 days and forgot to complete a change of address, you can still vote at your new polling location, but you may be asked to vote using a provisional ballot. If you moved to another county in North Carolina and haven’t updated your voter registration, you will only be able to vote at your prior polling location. 

For more details, you can contact your local board of election

What if I show up to my polling location and I’m not on the voter registration list?

If a record of your voter registration cannot be found when you show up to vote, you can still cast a provisional ballot. If you encounter this issue, make your way to your precinct’s Help Station to receive guidance.

I’m a college student. Can I vote in North Carolina?

Yes, if you registered in the county where you attend college.

How do I vote if I’m an active service member currently overseas or a citizen living abroad?

If you’re serving in the military overseas or an American citizen living abroad, you have until Monday, March 2 at 5 p.m. to register to vote and/or request an absentee ballot from the North Carolina Board of Elections. When requesting a ballot, you can choose to receive your balloting materials by mail, fax or email.

If you are a military-overseas voter, the deadline to return your ballot via mail, fax or email by the close of polls on Election Day (7:30 p.m. EST). 

You can find more details on military-overseas voting here.

Can I vote if I’m currently in jail or prison? What if I was convicted of felonies in the past?

You may still vote when you are incarcerated, as long as you are not serving a felony sentence and are 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, and have lived in the precinct for at least 30 days prior to the election.

If you are currently serving a felony sentence, you cannot vote or register to vote. If you have completed all of the terms of a past felony sentence, including any probation or parole, you are once again eligible to vote. 

Can I get a ride to the polls?

Yes. There are several resources available to those who need a ride to their polling site.

I’m disabled or have limited mobility and I’m not sure I can enter my polling place. What are my options?

Polling sites are required to be accessible to all voters and if you’re disabled, barriers can be removed to accommodate you and make voting accessible. 

Every polling site also offers curbside voting, where you can vote while inside a vehicle. State law also allows disabled voters to receive assistance in entering or exiting a voting booth as well as preparing a ballot, so long as the person helping you is a member of your immediate family. 

You can find more details on the state’s accessible voting options here.

What if I have a question that isn’t answered here?

You can contact the North Carolina Board of Elections at 919-814-0700 or find your local county board of elections office and contact them.


  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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