A Primary Vote

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You don’t have to know whether you’re registered as a Democrat or a Republican, but it will affect your vote May 8.

During a Primary Election, voters receive one ballot, either Republican or Democrat, on which they select the party candidates they wish to see appear on the General Election ballot this fall.

If you’re registered as one party or the other in North Carolina, you will get the ballot of that party, something that voters often find surprising on Election Day, according to Wake County Elections Assistant Director Gary Sims.

“A lot of times people get mixed up between a primary election and a general election,” he said. “[If I’m] registered with the Democratic party … The only ballot I’m eligible to vote in a Democratic primary is a Democratic party ballot. I can only vote the ballot of my party.”

Voters who register as “unaffiliated” can choose which ballot to vote May 8, but they still only receive one or the other.

That information — along with your voting site and voter registration number — will be showing up in your mailbox soon. The Board of Elections is mailing out information cards to the county’s more than 600,000 voters. The cards will be sent in batches of 50,000, Sims said, so some people will not receive the cards before Early Voting begins this week.

People who aren’t registered to vote at all have already missed last week’s deadline. But they can register and vote the same day during Early Voting, which begins Thursday.

The other thing voters may find confusing is the early voting schedule, Sims said.

Although Early Voting begins Thursday, only one site will be open that day: The Board of Elections Office. Other Early Voting locations will open April 27.

Many people are also asking about the Constitutional Amendment, but Sims and other Board of Elections employees are barred, by law, from commenting on the amendment. The text of the amendment is posted on the Board of Elections website.

The proposed amendment reads: “Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”

Voters will then choose “for” or “against.”

Sims said the amendment is making election turnout “hard to gauge” this year.

During the last similar election in 2008, about 40 percent of voters turned out. Sims said this year might exceed that.

“This is a big one. We have a primary in both political party governor races,” he said. “We have a Constitutional Amendment on a primary ballot. That’s not the norm. We do believe we’re going to have higher-than-normal turnout.”

One other note for any 17-year-old voters: A 17-year-old eligible to vote in November’s General Election is allowed to vote in the May 8 Primary. However, he or she cannot vote on the Constitutional Amendment.

Early Voting
Early voting for the May election: April 19-May 5
See map and schedule for Early Voting

Election Day Voting
Polls open: 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Find local polling places at on the Board of Elections website.

Absentee Voting
Requests for absentee ballots are due by 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 1. No emails accepted. The letter must include:

• Request Statement (“I am requesting an absentee ballot for the _______ Election.”)
• Name of voter
• Residential address of voter
• Address where ballot should be mailed (if different from residential address)
• Date of birth of voter
• Telephone number
• Signature of voter or near relative* (indicate relationship with voter)

The ballots are due by 5 p.m. May 7.



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