by Mary Hopper
From heated congressional races to soil commissioners, there are a lot of candidates that will need your consideration in upcoming November local and statewide elections. And just to add to the energy you need to put into educating yourself, there are six NC constitutional amendments and, for those of us inside Charlotte, three City of Charlotte bond packages.
Here is our attempt to help you prepare to cast an informed vote…
Bookmark MeckBOE.org and visit it often. If you live in Mecklenburg County, the Board of Elections website is your friend. There you will find information on Early Voting Locations, your district representatives, links to a sample ballot, important dates regarding voter registration… and that is just the tip of the iceburg. The MeckBOE website is an excellent source, take advantage of it.
Make sure you are registered to vote. Visit the Voter Search link on the North Carolina State Board of Elections website and enter your name. If you encounter a problem, either the site or, if needed, a call to them will let you know what to do.
Figure out which races you will be voting for. For example, while there are 18 state House and Senate races, you will only vote for YOUR district’s Senator and Representative. Judicial races are also by district. Although some races are already decided, like DA and Sheriff, those names will appear on your ballot. Go to the Voter Address Search page on the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections website and enter your home address to see a list of your representatives.
Pull up a sample ballot. The MeckBOE Home Page now includes a link directly to the Voter Search Page on the statewide voter site, and from there you can download a PDF of your sample ballot. There is also a link to download your sample ballot after entering your home address on the MeckBOA Voter Address search page. Although the ballot will look a bit different on the voting machines, the categories and their order will be the same.
When reviewing the ballot, READ THE SIX AMENDMENTS. While legislators already had to return once to Raleigh to tighten up copy, it is anticipated that additional specifics will be added at the majority party’s discretion after Nov 6. Some opponents base their concern about these amendments on that lack of clarity. The Charlotte Women’s March organization will be writing articles on these amendments and providing links to additional sources. Be sure to check back often for those articles and links.
Do Your Homework!
Look as well at the three City bonds for transportation, affordable housing and neighborhood infrastructure. Typically these campaigns are run through the Charlotte Chamber. Educate yourself as more details, like where monies will be spent, are revealed.
Don’t overlook the candidates. While a number of races will have been decided so only that name will be on the ballot, all of you will have at least one hot button race. Go to candidate websites and attend pubic forums. Ask questions. While to date local media coverage has been hit or miss, a Google search may turn up something new. Don’t overlook the judicial races. Use endorsements of groups and media you trust to guide your decisions.
Be discerning in verifying data. We’ve already seen some ugly mailers and ads. In addition, what we are still uncovering about the 2016 election should make us wary about social media. We all have people and groups whose advice we trust. If not, find sources you are confident in. While CWM does not endorse, we will attempt to link you to resources and encourage you to make up your own mind.
Share what you learn with others. Many folks you know may not be able to take the time to study all of this in depth. Pass what you’ve learned along as you encourage them to vote.
Know Before You Go!
Early voting begins October 17. And runs through Saturday Nov. 3. Unlike in previous years, all 18 sites are open throughout early voting. Sites are easily accessible throughout the county. We do note there is only one Sunday: Oct 28. Go to this link for the sites, a map and schedule.
Absentee voting is a breeze through MeckBOE.org. Here is your link.
Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. Again MeckBOE.org is your friend. The “address search” app will not only give you the address for your precinct but also directions to it. Polls are open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and returns start posting within an hour after polls close.
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