We’ve made it. It’s Election Day.
I was talking to mail carrier over the weekend, and he said the sheer volume of direct mail campaign advertisements had set him back as much as two hours on his route on a daily basis. It will be nice not to have those stuffing my mailbox day after day. But I digress.
If you weren’t one of the record 299,000 Mecklenburg Countians who voted early, we hope you’ll make it out the polls today. Here are some of the most common questions we get.
What are the Election Day poll hours?
Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
What if I get there like 10 minutes before the polls close?
That’s OK. As long as you’re in line before the polls close, you’ll get to vote. I’ve heard cases of precincts staying open hours past closing time because lines were so long. So try not to let it come to that.
Where do I vote?
You can use this site to check your polling place. It’s probably very close to your home at a church, school or community center.
But what if I want to vote somewhere close to work?
So, you can technically do this, but I wouldn’t recommend this. “Out-of-precinct” voting is allowed this election cycle. You’d have to cast what’s known as a provisional ballot, which entails an extra form. Elections officials would then research your voting eligibility and see if you’re eligible to vote. It all takes extra time.
The big election law that included voter ID also would have prohibited votes cast out-of-precinct from being counted, but a federal appeals court stuck down the provision. So your vote should be counted if you choose to go this route. Eventually.
Did my voting location change?
Maybe, but probably not. Only 9 of Mecklenburg County’s 243 precincts changed locations this year, and most of them only moved a minute or two down the street. Still, can’t hurt to check.
Do I need an ID?
What if I’m not registered?
Sorry, you’re out of luck. Should have voted early.
Are people allowed to hassle me while I’m going to vote?
No, state law prohibits electioneering within 50 feet of a polling place. However, it is OK for political volunteers to be stationed close by handing out flyers with their recommended candidates. There’s usually a sign that says “No campaigning beyond this point.”
Voter intimidation is a misdemeanor.
What should I do if I think somebody is breaking the rules?
Touch base with the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections. 704-336-2133.
Can I bring my kids to vote?
Yes, and you might have to. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has a teacher workday since many of their schools are polling places.