If you tend to put things off to the last minute, register to vote now. Voter registration ends Friday.
New residents, those who moved since the last election, or those who want to change their party affiliation can obtain a voter registration form at any county library or download one from the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections Web site www.meckboe.org. Return the form in person or by mail to Mecklenburg BOE, 741 Kenilworth Ave., Suite 202, Charlotte, NC 28204.
If you've lost your voter registration card, you can check your registration at www.meckboe.org. Your precinct determines not only your voting place, but congressional and state legislative districts. You can even print out a sample ballot, which lists those running for local offices such as county commissioner and judges.
Absentee balloting by mail began Sept. 15 and runs through Oct. 28. Early voting (in person) begins Oct. 16 and ends Nov. 1 (see table for locations and schedule). During early voting, residents who missed registration may both register and vote at any location. This period is also called “no-excuse voting,” and there are three weekend days in the period.
If voting a straight party ticket, please remember that you still must vote for the president, judges and referenda separately.
Whether voting early or on Election Day, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 4, the process runs smoothest when everyone is properly prepared. Be sure you know the polling place for your precinct if voting on Election Day, and that you are in line no later than 7:30 p.m.
It is not usually necessary to provide identification. However, if this is the first time you're voting in Mecklenburg County, and you did not provide ID at registration time, you may be asked to present a valid photo ID and/or proof of residence such as a government check, paycheck, bank statement or utility bill with the same name and address as your voter registration. Bring identification just in case.
Rumors abound about wearing campaign-related clothing to the polling place.
According to our BOE, campaign clothing is fine as long as the person wearing it is not trying to campaign within 50 feet of the polling place. However, making oneself an advertisement for a candidate may be deemed as campaigning.
Treat the polling place as something sacred. If you must wear campaign items, make it something you can easily remove or cover up in case you are challenged.
Everyone wants to vote, so give no one an excuse to curtail your rights.