Early voting is underway for the May primaries in North Carolina, where candidates will be winnowed down for the important mid-term elections. (Image via Shutterstock.) Time to exercise those democracy muscles.
Early voting is underway for the May primaries in North Carolina, where candidates will be winnowed down for the important mid-term elections. (Image via Shutterstock.)

We’ve got the answers to your basic questions about the May 17 primary elections in North Carolina.

It’s time to vote, with North Carolina’s primary election two weeks away.

Primary elections help narrow down the field of party candidates. Multiple candidates from the same party go head-to-head on the ballot to become their party’s nominee. You can vote in whatever party’s primary you are registered with, or if you’re unaffiliated, you can vote in either.

Then, whoever wins the May 17 primary goes on to represent their party in November’s general election. 

North Carolina has some big races to decide, with a crowded Republican primary in the US Senate race, several competitive Congressional races, and many local races on the ballot.

How To Find Your Polling Place

Until May 14, North Carolina is in its early voting period.  That means you can cast your ballot at any early voting location in your county. You can look up your county’s locations and hours here.

This is different from Election Day, when you must vote at your assigned voting precinct. Find your assigned Election Day polling place, and your sample ballot, at this NC Board of Election website. It will also bring up your sample ballot so you can know in advance what races you’ll be voting in.

How to Look up Your Ballot

No one likes being unprepared, which is why you can look at a sample ballot before you head to the polls. You can look up your sample ballot using your address here, or through the NC Voter Search Tool here.

This will show you what state legislative and Congressional districts you’re in. It’s very possible your district changed as a result of the state’s contentious redistricting process.

Registering to Vote

Everyone likes convenience, and North Carolina allows voters to register to vote and cast their ballot at the same time during the early voting period. This is also where you should update your address if you’ve moved recently or changed your name.

To register to vote, you’ll need to show a document that reflects your name and current address.

You can show one of these as proof:

  • Driver’s license
  • Other photo ID issued by a government agency
  • Utility bill with name and address.
  • Bank statement
  • Paycheck
  • Other government document with voter’s name and address
  • College/university photo ID card paired with proof of your campus address.