Early Voting Period Begins for Charlotte and Sanford Local Elections 

Voters wait for a ballot in the 2008 North Carolina primaries in Raleigh, N.C., on May 6, 2008. (AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds, File)

By Michael McElroy

August 23, 2023

Local officials determine property tax rates, whether to fix potholes, the rules that guide local law enforcement, and how local resources are allocated. 

We know there’s a lot going on right now with kids returning to school and tropical storms out in the Atlantic, but Charlotte and Sanford, you’ve also got local elections starting this week.

These are just two of the towns and cities choosing new leaders in November, but they kick off the 2023 voting season with primary elections this week. 

Though the primaries are officially on Tuesday, Sept. 12, the early voting period begins on Thursday and runs through Sunday, Sept. 9.

No Small Elections

Nearly every county has municipal elections this year, and though they don’t carry the same intrigue as presidential elections, they often have more effect on daily life. 

Local officials determine property tax rates, whether to fix potholes, the rules that guide local law enforcement, how local resources are allocated. 

These elections are also important because they are the first in which voters will have to show a voter ID. [For a detailed guide on which IDs are accepted and how to get one, click here.]

Your Voting Checklist

The North Carolina Board of Elections released some voting tips this week ahead of the Charlotte and Sanford primaries.

Here’s a look:

  • Eligible voters may cast a ballot at any early voting site in their county. Click here to see the early voting sites and hours in your county. 
  • You have to be registered to vote and live in your given town, city, or county in order to vote in the local election. 
  • You can find your sample ballot through the Voter Search tool. Sample ballots can be useful, so here’s a guide on how to use them.
  • Anyone who missed the regular voter registration deadline can register and vote at the same time during the early voting period. Same-day registrants must provide proof of where they live.
  • If a voter can’t show a photo ID, they can still vote by filling out an ID Exception Form and voting a provisional ballot. County boards of elections must count provisional ballots with properly completed ID Exception Forms.
  • Registered voters can get a free voter ID through Sept. 9, the last day of early voting.
  • Voters who receive an absentee ballot by mail may deliver their completed ballot to an election official at an early voting site in their county during early voting hours. 
  • Every eligible voter is entitled to cast their ballot freely, without harassment or intimidation. Voters who feel harassed or intimidated should notify an election official immediately.
  • Voters at one-stop early voting sites are entitled to the same assistance as voters at a voting place on Election Day. Curbside voting is available for eligible individuals at all early voting sites. 


  • Michael McElroy

    Michael McElroy is Cardinal & Pine's political correspondent. He is an adjunct instructor at UNC-Chapel Hill's Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and a former editor at The New York Times.

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