election voting ballot illustration

The North Carolina voter registration period closed on Oct. 9, meaning the focus now has shifted to the act of voting itself. Here’s a look at how you can do it — including how you can still register at an early one-stop voting location.

Vote by mail-in ballot

The earliest way to vote is by mail, a.k.a. absentee voting. The first step is to request an absentee ballot — which can be done online or by mailing in an absentee ballot request form.

Absentee ballot requests must be received by the board of elections by Oct. 27.

Most mailboxes have been pummeled with blank request forms from third-party organizations trying to turn out the vote. The concerted effort to make mail-in voting as easy as possible eliminates the step of getting your hands on an absentee ballot request form.

The Haywood County Board of Elections has received hundreds of angry phone calls, however, from people who thought they were the ones sending them out.

If you still need to request an absentee ballot, however, go to votebymail.ncsbe.gov/app/absentee/lookup and follow the instructions, which require you to enter your name, date of birth and last four digits of your social security number.

While the ballot is typically sent to the address you have lived at for 30 days or more before election day, if you are temporarily living away or displaced from the residence where you are registered to vote and you intend to return later, then you are not considered to have lost your place of residence. Ensure you include the address where you want your ballot in the appropriate place on the form. If you have moved within your county, you may use the form to update your address.

A near relative may request the form on your behalf. A near relative includes spouse, parent, parents-in-law, son-or-daughter-in-law, child, step-parent or step-child.

Voters are only entitled to assistance from their near relative, verifiable legal guardian, or a member of a Multipartisan Assistance Team (MAT) authorized by the county board of elections. Contact the county board of elections to request a MAT. The ballot request form must be signed (no typed signatures) either by the voter, the voter’s near relative or a guardian.

Once the ballot arrives in the mail, you can fill it out. While two witness signatures used to be required, new state law dictates just one must be provided, although that individual must provide personal information to verify their identity.

Then, the ballot can either be mailed out or personally delivered to the board of elections, located at 63 Elmwood Way, Suite A, off Russ Avenue in Waynesville, where your signature and personal information will be checked against your file.

Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked by Nov. 3. Ballots returned in person must be back to the board of elections by 5 p.m. on Nov. 3. Experts have said that while they have faith in the reliability of the postal service, they also recommend erring on the safe side and mailing ballots back as soon as possible.

No excuse is needed to cast an absentee ballot.

Early one-stop voting

Early voting will be conducted at three locations in Haywood County:

• The Haywood County Senior Resource Center, 81 Elmwood Way, Waynesville

• Canton Public Library, 11 Pennsylvania Ave., Canton

• Clyde Town Hall, 8437 Carolina Blvd., Clyde.

The hours for early voting as are follows:

• Thursday, Oct. 15: 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

• Friday, Oct. 16: 8:00 a.m. — 7:30 p.m.

• Saturday, Oct. 17: 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

• Sunday, Oct. 18: CLOSED

• Monday, Oct. 19: 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

• Tuesday, Oct. 20: 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

• Wednesday, Oct. 21: 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

• Thursday, Oct. 22: 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

• Friday, Oct. 23: 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

• Saturday, Oct. 24: 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

• Sunday, Oct. 25: CLOSED

• Monday, Oct. 26: 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

• Tuesday, Oct. 27: 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

• Wednesday, Oct. 28: 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

• Thursday, Oct. 29: 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

• Friday, Oct. 30: 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

• Saturday, Oct. 31: 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

To cast an “in-person absentee ballot” at an early voting location, you don’t need to bring an ID and may update your address at that time.

While the voter registration period ended Oct. 9, you can still register to vote at one of the early voting sites.

Same-day registrants must attest to their eligibility and provide proof of where they live. A voter attests to their eligibility by completing and signing a North Carolina Voter Registration Application.

Voters doing same-day registration must prove their residence by showing any of the following documents with their current name and address:

• North Carolina driver’s license

• Other photo identification issued by a government agency. Any government-issued photo ID is acceptable, provided that the card includes the voter’s current name and address.

• A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document showing the voter’s name and address.

• A current college/university photo identification card paired with proof of campus habitation.

Once you are registered, you may vote immediately. If you are unsure whether or not, you are registered, visit vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/ to verify your status.

Election day voting

Unlike with early voting, you must cast a ballot at your assigned precinct if you vote on election day, Nov. 3. Like early voting, an ID is not required.

Visit www.haywoodcountync.gov/DocumentCenter/View/107/Notice-of-Buffer-Zone-PDF for a list of Haywood County precincts. To see which polling place you should go to, visit vt.ncsbe.gov/PPLkup/.

Curbside voting

During early in-person voting from Oct. 15-31, and on Election Day, curbside voting will be available at every site for people who can’t enter the voting place due to age or disability.

The term “disability” means you:

• Are unable to enter the polling place due to age or physical or mental disability, such as agoraphobia;

• Have a medical condition that puts you at increased risk of COVID-19;

• Should not wear a mask due to a medical or behavioral condition or disability; or

• Are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

Curbside voters are required to sign an affidavit stating that they can’t enter the voting place to cast a ballot.

Election results

Absentee votes will be tabulated at 2 p.m. on Nov. 3, marking the first moment any results will be known. At 7:30 p.m., the first batch of results will be released, and more will trickle in throughout the night as various precincts report. You can check on the results at er.ncsbe.gov.

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