Tuesday is Election Day. Here’s what you need to know

The North Carolina primary elections are Tuesday. (Photo by Melissa Sue Gerrits for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

By Michael McElroy

March 4, 2024

Tips on voter ID, polling hours and what’s at stake in this election. 

Here we go. 

North Carolina’s primary elections are officially here, and today is your last chance to pick the candidates who will represent your chosen party in the general election in November.

Voters have a lot to consider on their ballots, including the primary races for president, governor, attorney general, and several congressional seats. And each of these elections will help determine how North Carolina handles abortion rights, climate change, public school funding, and lots of other issues with direct effects on people’s lives. 

Most voters know exactly how they feel on these issues, but what do you need to do to actually cast your vote? Where do you go? What do you need to bring with you? What time do the polls open and close? 

We’ve got you covered.

Whether you are casting your first votes in this election or are a seasoned veteran, here are the things to keep in mind as you head to the polls on Tuesday.

Where do I go?

Registered voters can cast their ballot only at their designated polling site. Find yours here.

When do the polls open?

Bright and early, 6:30 a.m. They close at 7:30 p.m. But here’s the most important thing: As long as you are in line to vote at 7:30 p.m., you will be allowed to vote, even if the line is long. So if you get in line, stay in line. 

What do I need to bring?

Yourself, of course, and a voter ID. Yeah, that’s new. 

There are several valid forms of ID including an up-to-date driver’s license and valid passport. There are also several approved government and student IDs you can use. For a complete list of accepted IDs, see here

If you don’t have any of these, you can still vote. You’ll just have to fill out a provisional ballot and an ID exception form. Don’t let the lack of ID stop you from voting. Seriously.

For November, you can get a free voter ID through your board elections or through the DMV. See here for more information. 

What if I’m not registered? 

Well, OK, it’s too late to vote in the primary election. BUT, HOWEVER, HOLD ON, WAIT: you can still register for the general election in November. You do not have to vote in the primary in order to vote in the general. If you miss this election, no problem, you can still register for the main event online or through the DMV. Find out more here.

Which primary can I vote in?

If you are a registered Democrat, you can only vote in the Democratic primary. Same with Republicans. But if you are an unaffiliated voter, which happens to be the biggest voting group in the state, you can choose either primary to vote in. But you can choose only one, so no double dipping.

How do I know who is on the ballot?

Excellent question. There’s also an excellent answer. Sample ballots. Sample ballots let you see exactly how the real thing is going to look, and give you a starting point to look up the candidates, learn about the positions they are running for, and research their positions. Registered voters can find their sample ballots through the voter search tool on the website of the North Carolina Board of Elections (NCBOE).

What if I need assistance?

The NCBOE offers curbside voting and other help at every voting site for voters who are unable to enter the voting site because they have COVID symptoms or physical or mental disabilities.

You will have to sign an affidavit that you are unable to enter the site, but then you can vote from your car. Several polling sites will also have walk up curbside voting options. There should be signs at every polling place, and elections officials on site can point you in the right direction.

What if someone tries to stop me from voting

Tell an election official right away. It is against the law to harass or try to intimidate a voter. So if anyone tries to block your access to the polling site, yells at you inside the site or outside, or shouts crazy things at you as you go to vote, tell somebody. And then vote.


  • 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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