(Posted March, 2016)
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of election talk already. Nevertheless, election time is here. As you may know, I am a “Precinct Judge” for Durham County, NC.
I’m writing to give you some “tips” for making the voting process easier. However, before I get into that, please realize that we “election officials” are, as our precinct’s Chief Judge says, “working to make democracy happen”. We work long hours, sit through unbearable training classes, and get paid very little for what we do. For most of us, it’s simply something we enjoy doing. Everything we do on election day is by the book, or, as has been said in the past, “it’s the law”. We know there are some things that voters don’t like, but keep in mind there is nothing we can do about it, so be gentle with us!
Of course, this year there are a few changes to the voting process. The most noticeable one for you will involve you being asked for your photo ID. I know many people don’t like it, but it is the law, of which all election officials are sworn in to uphold. If you must rant about it, go ahead, but, again, please realize that there is nothing that we can do. Be prepared to show your ID, and expect the process to be a little slower and the lines to be a little longer because of this. The process is new to the election officials, too.
Valid photo IDs are:
- North Carolina Driver License (if expired, expiration date must be within 4 years of day of voting);
- DMV Non-Operator State ID Card (if expired, expiration date must be within 4 years of day of voting);
- US Passport Book or Card (must NOT be expired);
- US Military ID – Active (Must be unexpired IF it has an expiration date);
- US Military ID –Dependent, Civ. Contractor, Retired (Must be unexpired IF it has an expiration date);
- US Veterans ID (Must be unexpired IF it has an expiration date);
- Tribal Enrollment Card – Federally-Recognized Tribes (Must be unexpired IF it has an expiration date);
- Tribal Enrollment Card – State-Recognized Tribes (Must have expiration date and must be unexpired).
Once inside the voting area, cell phones and other electronic devices are NOT allowed to be used. The best thing that you can do to prepare for the actual vote is to fill in a “sample ballot” beforehand and bring it with you. To help, I’m enclosing sample ballots for both the Republican and Democratic primaries. If you’re not sure how you’re registered, or you need more copies of the sample ballot, or you’re registered as a Libertarian or Unaffiliated, please go to https://vt.ncsbe.gov/voter_search_public/, enter your information, and it will show your registration and indicate which ballot you’ll be voting. Just download it and fill it out.
The polls open at 630am SHARP. We cannot let anyone vote before then. Even the election officials can’t vote before 6:30! And the polls close at 7:30pm SHARP. If there’s a line at 7:30 and you’re in it, you’ll get to vote. If you’re just a little late, we cannot let you vote. We hate having to turn people away, but we must do it. Again, it’s the law!
I hope you’ll find these tips helpful. If you have any questions, you can call your County’s Board of Elections office – they’ll be glad to help!