10 things to know ahead of Election Day in North Carolina

10 things to know ahead of Election Day in North Carolina

Voters at the Graham Civic Center polling site in Graham, N.C., Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

By Michael McElroy

November 3, 2023

This is the first November Election Day in which voters will need to show an approved Voter ID in order to have their ballot counted, so even old hands could use some reminders and guidance about the voting process. 

Election Day 2023 is almost here. More than 465 cities, towns, and counties across North Carolina have local elections on Tuesday, and these are important off-year elections,  even if they don’t get as much attention as those held in presidential years.

If you care about property tax rates, whether to fix potholes, the rules that guide local law enforcement, how local resources are allocated, how many firefighters your town has, whether school boards should ban books, and a long list of other things, then local elections most certainly affect you.

But this is the first election in which voters will need to show an approved Voter ID in order to have their ballot counted, so even old hands could use some reminders and guidance about the voting process. 

So here are some other last minute tips from the North Carolina Board of Elections on voter ID, voting sites, when to expect results and other important subjects ahead of Tuesday’s vote.

  1. On Election Day, polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. but you most certainly can still vote as long as you are in line by 7:30 p.m. So if you get there at 7:25 and the line is still out the door, get in line and stay in line. You’ll be able to vote.
  2. Registered voters must go to their assigned Election Day polling place in their home county. If you’re not sure where you’re meant to go, you can find your polling place through the State Board’s Voter Search tool.
  3. Sample ballots are a great way to see the candidates and positions you’ll be voting on, and do a little research on anything you’re unfamiliar with. You can’t use your phone for last minute Googling once you are in the voting booth. You can find your sample ballot through the same voter search tool.
  4. Ok, here’s the big one. Voters now have to show a photo ID when checking in at their polling place. There are several approved IDs, and most voters will simply show their driver’s license. Many state and college IDs are also accepted, but you can’t use  just  ANY ID like a diner’s club card or a circus guild of America card. It has to be on a specific list approved by elections officials.  You can find that list at the BOE website or through our guide here. This is important too: If you can’t show a photo ID, you can still vote by filling out an ID Exception Form and voting a provisional ballot. Don’t let any worries about the voter ID stop you from voting. 
  5. Voting in-person on Election Day means using a hand-marked paper ballot or a touch-screen device that produces a digitally marked paper ballot. You’ll have to verify your vote has been properly marked before casting. Then you insert the ballot into a tabulator – don’t worry, it’s been properly tested. You can click here to find which voting equipment is used in your county.
  6. The deadline to register to vote has now passed for Tuesday’s election, unless you became a US citizen after the regular voter registration deadline, or similarly had your rights restored following a felony conviction.
  7. Curbside voting is available at each voting site for voters who are unable to enter the voting place without assistance because of age or disability. This is also available to you if you have a medical condition that makes you more susceptible to getting COVID, or if you have COVID symptoms. If you have difficulties once inside the polling place, you can ask an election worker for help. You can find more information on voter assistance by clicking here
  8. If your name is not on the voter list when you check in, you can still vote. Just request a provisional ballot, and it will be counted if election officials can verify your identity and proper voter status. You can check the status of your provisional ballot here about a week after the election. For more information about the provisional ballot process, click here. 
  9. Voter harassment and intimidation are crimes. No one can block your access to the voting site, or interfere with election officials. If you feel harassed or intimidated, immediately inform an elections worker. 
  10. You can track real time election results throughout election night through the State Board’s Election Results Dashboard. But those vote counts will be unofficial. In close races, the winner may not be known until the canvassing process is completed over the following week. 

The Board of Election has lots of other useful information on its website, including a thorough archive that dispels persistent election myths and disinformation. 


  • 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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