4 things you need to know about the March 15 primary

By Nicholas Elmes - nelmes@civitasmedia.com

On Tuesday, March 15, Stokes County voters will go to the polls to elect primary candidates in local, state and national elections.

Here are four things you need to know to participate:

1. Who is on the ballot?

Since this is a primary election, who you are able to vote for will depend on what party you are registered with.

If you are registered as a Republican, you will be picking candidates for U.S. President, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives (District 6), N.C. Governor, N.C. Attorney General, N.C. Commissioner of Agriculture, N.C. Commissioner of Insurance, N.C. Secretary of State, N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction, N.C. House of Representatives District 91, and Stokes County Board of Commissioners.

Registered Democrats will pick candidates for U.S. President, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives District 6, N.C. Lieutenant Governor, N.C. Attorney General, N.C. Commissioner of Labor, N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction, and N.C. Treasurer.

If you are registered as a Libertarian, you will be picking a candidate for U.S. President.

All voters will have a chance to vote in a referendum for or against a North Carolina bond initiative which would sell $2 billion worth of bonds to fund improvements at state colleges and parks.

Voters who are registered as Unaffiliated will get to chose between the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or Non-partisan ballots. The Non-partisan ballot will only have the referendum on it.

While U.S. House of Representative candidates will appear on the ballot, these candidates are for the former District 6 candidates. In February, Stokes county was moved into District 5 and state leaders set a second primary specifically for the U.S. House of Representatives in June for candidates in the news district boundaries. State officials, however, are still urging voters to vote for U.S. House of Representative candidates on the March 15 ballot in case there are any challenges to the February redistricting.

2. Where and when do you vote?

Polling precincts around the county will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. on March 15.

Precincts are located at Mt. Olive Elementary School, Danbury Fire Department,Poplar Springs Church Youth House,Southeastern Middle School, Double Creek Fire Department, Francisco Fire Department, Asbury Presbyterian Church, Forest Chapel Fellowship Hall, Germanton Elementary School, Lawsonville Fire Department, East Stokes Community Building, Mountain View Community Building, Sauratown VFD, Stokes Rockingham Fire Rescue, Pinnacle Elementary School, Nancy Reynolds Elementary School, Northeast Stokes Fire Department, American Legion Building, Walnut Cove Fire Department, and South Stokes Fire Department.

East King precinct’s Election Day polling place has moved within the Poplar Springs Church of Christ complex. Voting previously took place at the Family Life Center; it now occurs at the Youth House. Voters should take the main entrance to the church off of HWY 66 and stay straight. The Youth House is past the Family Life Center and is the last building on the right, towards the back of the complex. ‘Vote Here’ and other signs will be displayed to guide voters. This change took effect during the municipal election last November.

If you are unsure where to go to vote you can call the Stokes County Board of Elections at 336-593-2409, or visit http://www.co.stokes.nc.us/vote.

3. Do you need a photo ID to vote?

Yes and no. Most voters will be asked to present a photo ID when going to vote on Tuesday, but voters will be allowed to cast provisional ballots if they do not have ID with them when they go to vote. Those ballots will not be counted until the voter presents a photo ID to an election official at the county Board of Elections. Exceptions will also include people who have a religious objection to being photographed, or are victims of a natural disaster.

Acceptable forms of photo ID include: NC Driver’s License or DMV-issued Identification Card (expired up to four years), US Passport or Passport Card (unexpired), Military ID Card or Veterans Affairs ID Card (unexpired, if there is an expiration date), and certain Tribal Enrollment Cards. Voters over 70 may use expired photo IDs if they expired after their 70th birthday.

Voters who are unable to obtain one of the forms of ID may still vote if their inability is due to a reasonable impediment (i.e., a lost or stolen ID, lack of transportation, illness or disability, a lack of proper documents to obtain ID, or work schedule).

These voters may vote a provisional ballot after completing a Reasonable Impediment Declaration and providing an alternate form of identification or the last four digits of their social security number and their date of birth.

The alternate forms of ID include voter registration card or a current utility bill, paycheck, government check, bank statement, or other government document bearing the voter’s name and current address.

Free ID cards for state residents who attest they do not have acceptable photo ID are available from the NC DMV. For assistance with obtaining acceptable photo identification for voting or for more information on exceptions and alternative voting options, contact the NC State Board of Elections voter outreach team toll-free at 1-866-522-4723 or visit www.VoterID.nc.gov.

4. Is it too late for one-stop early voting?

No. One-stop early voting will continue through March 12 at three locations in the county.

Voters from anywhere in the county can do one-stop voting at the Board of Elections office in Danbury, the King Public Library, or the Walnut Cove Fire Department.

The Board of Elections will be open for one-stop voting on Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The King Public Library will have one-stop voting from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday.

In Walnut Cove, voters can go to the Walnut Cove Fire Department for on-stop voting from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Voters can also update name or within-county address during one-stop early voting, but cannot change party affiliation during this period.

Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.

By Nicholas Elmes


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