Abbreviated early voting season kicks off Thursday
If you want to get a jump on your civic duty to vote, you get an early chance starting Thursday.
Early voting, known formally as one-stop absentee voting, begins Thursday morning across the area and state for the primary elections. Early voting continues through May 3 leading up to the primary itself on May 6.
Here’s some details and background on early voting this spring:
Where can I vote?
There are two early voting locations in High Point — Washington Terrace Park at 101 Gordon St. and Oak Hollow Mall at 921 Eastchester Drive. The mall polling place is near the entrance for the former J.C. Penney department store. The two polls open at 10 a.m. and stay open until 6:30 p.m. on weekdays.
In Randolph County, the early voting location for the northern part of the county is at the Randolph Community Services Building, 213 Balfour Drive, in Archdale. The poll opens at 8:30 a.m. and remains open until 6 p.m. on weekdays.
In Davidson county, the two early voting locations in the northeastern part of the county are the Thomasville Library at 14 Randolph St. and Midway Fire Department at 228 Midway School Road. Both polls open at 9:30 a.m. and stay open until 5:30 p.m. on weekdays.
Who can vote?
Unlike the fall general election, in which registered voters make a choice for all races on the ballot, primaries are limited based on the party registration of the voter. Democratic or Republican voters can cast a ballot in their party primary. But registered Republicans can’t vote in a Democratic primary, and registered Democrats can’t vote in a Republican primary. Unaffiliated voters can choose to vote in one party primary, but not both.
What’s changed about early voting this year?
The two biggest changes involve the length of time for early voting and the elimination of same-day voter registration and voting.
The Republican-controlled N.C. General Assembly and GOP Gov. Pat McCrory shortened the early voting period by one week. However, the majority of North Carolina counties — including ones in the High Point area — will maintain the same number of total early voting hours as in the past. Boards of elections will accomplish this by opening satellite early voting locations from the outset of early voting. In previous years, the first week of early voting was limited to a county Board of Election office polling location.
The other change with early voting is Republicans eliminated a practice that had been in place since 2007 that allowed voters who weren’t registered to show up at polling place, register to vote and cast a ballot the same day during one-stop absentee voting. The same-day registration and voting option was put in place when Democrats controlled state government. Early voting was introduced in North Carolina 14 years ago under Democratic control of the General Assembly and governor’s office.
Anyone who wants to vote during this spring’s primary season had to be registered by April 11.
What happens after the primaries?
The winners of the primaries advance to the ballot for the Nov. 4 general election. In some cases, if a candidate doesn’t receive slightly more than 40 percent of the vote total, a runoff would take place between the two candidates with the most votes in the primary. If any race for U.S. Senate or U.S. House requires a runoff, known formally as a second primary, it would take place July 15.
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