North Carolina voters next week will start deciding who deserves their party’s nomination in presidential, gubernatorial, council of state, Congress, legislature and local elections.

Here is what you need to know about where to vote, what is required to cast a ballot and what’s at stake in important races.

When does voting start?

Primary election day will be March 5. Early voting begins Feb. 15. Voters can check their registration, see a sample ballot and find their polling place by visiting the North Carolina State Board of Elections search tool at vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup.

Can I still register to vote?

The voter registration deadline for the March 5 election is Friday, but same-day voter registration is available during early voting. To register at an early voting site, you must fill out the North Carolina voter registration application and provide proof of residency.

Acceptable documentation proving your name and address includes:

  • A North Carolina driver’s license

  • Other photo ID issued by a government agency, if it includes your current name and address

  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document showing the voter’s name and address

College students can prove residency using “a document from an educational institution with the student’s name and on-campus housing address.”

Colleges and universities can also “provide the county board of elections a list of students residing in particular campus housing, which will suffice if a student living in campus housing shows a valid student photo identification card,” the State Board of Elections says. Most voters are not eligible for same-day registration on Election Day.

Can I still request an absentee ballot?

Any registered voter in North Carolina may request, receive, and vote a mail-in absentee ballot where it is permitted.

Voters have until Feb. 27 to request an absentee ballot. Voters “must request an absentee ballot with an official N.C. Absentee Ballot Request Form,” according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

There are two ways to access and submit the form:

Voters can make a request online using the N.C. Absentee Ballot Portal on the NCSBE website. An absentee ballot can be downloaded and printed online at ncsbe.gov/voting/vote-mail. It can then be submitted to a county board of election office, in person or by mail.

Absentee ballots must be received by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day for the vote to be counted.

Where and when to vote

All 22 sites in Mecklenburg County will be open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. starting Thursday through March 1 for early voting. And every site will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24 and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 25. Early voting will start at 8 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. on March 2.

All polling places are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

During early voting, Charlotte residents can choose any location in the county to cast a ballot. On Election Day, people must vote at their assigned precinct. To check your voter registration and your precinct, visit vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup.

Here is the full list of early voting sites around Mecklenburg County:

  • Allegra Westbrooks Library – 2412 Beatties Ford Road, Charlotte

  • Ballantyne/Carmel Commons – 7611 Pineville-Matthews Rd., Charlotte

  • Cornelius Town Hall – 21445 Catawba Ave., Cornelius

  • David B. Waymer Recreation Center – 14008 Holbrooks Rd., Hunterville

  • Davidson Town Hall and Community Center – 251 South St, Davidson

  • Eastway Recreation Center – 3150 Eastway Park Dr., Charlotte

  • Hal Marshall Annex – 618 N. College St., Charlotte

  • Hornet’s Nest Park – 6301 Beatties Ford Road, Charlotte

  • Independence Library – 6000 Conference Dr., Charlotte

  • Marion Diehl Recreation Center – 2219 Tyvola Road, Charlotte

  • Matthews Library – 230 Matthews Station St., Matthews

  • Mint Hill Library – 6840 Matthews-Mint Hill Road, Mint Hill

  • Mt. Island Library – 4420 Hoyt Galvin Way, Charlotte

  • North County Library – 16500 Holly Crest Lane, Huntersville

  • Pineville Library – 505 Main St., Pineville

  • South County Library – 5801 Rea Road, Charlotte

  • SouthPark Library – 7015 Carnegie Blvd., Charlotte

  • Steele Creek Masonic Temple Lodge – 13611 Steele Creek Rd., Charlotte

  • Tuskaseegee Recreation Center – 4820 Tuskaseegee Rd., Charlotte

  • University City – 9315 N. Tryon St., Charlotte

  • Uptown, Overstreet Mall – 101 S. Tryon St., Charlotte

  • West Boulevard Library – 2157 West Blvd., Charlotte

All voters, including those who don’t live in Mecklenburg County, can visit vt.ncsbe.gov/EVSite to find local early voting sites and times.

What about voter ID?

Voters now need to show photo identification to cast a ballot in 2024.

Acceptable IDs include:

  • A North Carolina driver’s license

  • A state ID issued by the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles

  • A U.S. passport or U.S. passport card

  • A driver’s license or non-driver ID from another state, the District of Columbia, or U.S. territories if the “voter registered in North Carolina within 90 days of the election.”

For the complete list of acceptable IDs, visit ncsbe.gov/voting/voter-id#acceptable. Voters who don’t have an ID can get a “No Fee ID Card” from the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles or a free photo ID from the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections. To get an ID card from the local Board of Elections, call 704-336-2133, email [email protected], or visit the board’s office, 741 Kenilworth Ave, Suite 202.

How to get a free Election Day ride to the polls

Those needing transportation to their polling place can ride all CATS buses, the LYNX Blue Line, and the CityLYNX Gold Line for free on Election Day. Paratransit services will also be free. Those in need of accommodations should email [email protected] or call 704-336-7433.

What’s on the ballot

On the national front, the presidential primary will take center stage, with incumbent Joe Biden the only person on the ballot in the Democratic primary. On the GOP side, former United Nations Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former President Donald Trump and others will be on the ballot.

The most prominent state races on the ballot this year are for governor. Though current Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is the favorite on the Republican side and Attorney General Josh Stein is the Democrat frontrunner, they will have primary challengers.

The GOP field will include state Treasurer Dale Folwell and trial lawyer Bill Graham. Attorney Marcus Williams, Tryon native Chrelle Booker, former Edgecombe County police chief Gary Foxx and longtime North Carolina Supreme Court associate judge Mike Morgan will attempt to advance to the November general election. There’s also a Libertarian primary between candidates Shannon Bray and Mike Ross.

State Rep. Tricia Cotham, who switched from Democrat to Republican last year, will seek reelection in the newly drawn House District 105 left vacated by Democratic Rep. Wesley Harris, who is running for state treasurer. Cotham will be challenged in the general election by the winner of a Democrat primary field that includes Yolanda Holmes, Nicole Sidman, and Terry Lansdell. The district includes Mecklenburg County, Mint Hill, and parts of Matthews.

Six candidates, including state Rep. John Bradford, will run in the Republican primary for U.S. House District 8. The newly drawn 8th District is a seat being vacated by Republican Dan Bishop, who entered the state attorney general’s race. The district contains parts of southeastern Mecklenburg County and extends east.

In U.S. House District 10, four Republicans — Diana Jimison, Pat Harrigan, Grey Mills, and Charles Eller — aim to replace U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, a Republican who is not seeking another term. Ralph R. Scott, Jr. is the lone Democrat in the race. The district starts in Lincoln County and extends northeast to Winston-Salem.

Four candidates are competing for a state Senate seat in District 41, currently held by Natasha Marcus, who is running for insurance commissioner.

The Mecklenburg County commissioner race will have 9 candidates in district and at-large Democratic primaries.

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