Despite how it feels, with the most recent presidential election still fresh on our minds, all around the country and right here in the Tar Heel State, it’s business as usual for local politics! And that means, believe it or not, we have local elections coming up in just a few days.
Here at Southern Neighbor, we care deeply about keeping our community informed and active. It is in that spirit that we have put together this handy voter guide for the upcoming 2017 municipal elections in each town in our readership.
First things first, check to make sure your voter registration is up to date. After you’ve done that, ensure that you’re aware what your polling place is so you don’t face any obstacles on Election Day.
In the case that your information is not in the system, or not listed properly, on Nov. 7, please keep in mind that you still have a right to cast a provisional ballot. What this means is you will be allowed to fill out a voter registration/change form and vote a ballot. This provisional ballot will be examined by the county board to determine if it can be counted. Also keep in mind that if you have moved and show up to the wrong location on Election Day, you will simply be transferred to the correct precinct, and will not have to vote provisionally.
If you plan to be out of town on Election Day, but still wish to cast a ballot in the municipal elections, you’re not out of luck! North Carolina law allows you to cast an absentee ballot by mail. The necessary forms are available to be picked up in person at the Board of Elections office, and for download on their website. After completing the forms, you must mail it to the Board, and please keep in mind that it must be postmarked by Election Day.
For voters who may have trouble physically getting out of their vehicles and into the polling location, there are options available to you as well. North Carolina allows curbside voting, meaning if you are unable to physically get out of your vehicle and into the polling place, you will be allowed to vote from your vehicle. If you might have a hard time getting around physical barriers around the ballot box itself, just let a poll worker know and they will rearrange the space to accommodate your needs.
Audio narrations of ballots are available for people with visual impairments. Counties that utilize paper ballots will have magnifying devices to aid voters in viewing their sheets.
If you’d like to volunteer making polling places more accessible for voters who require accommodations and do not have a family member present to assist them, you can sign up with the Board of Elections to be part of the Multipartisan Assistance Team.
If you’d like to work as a general poll worker and help operate a polling location, please contact your local elections board in order to sign up as an election official. If you’re a high school student and will be 17 years of age by Election Day, you may qualify to sign up as a student election assistant!
In terms of bringing photo identification to the polls, please keep in mind that North Carolina’s voter ID laws have changed. In general, if you have voted before, you will not need to present a photo ID in order to vote. First-time voters may be required to provide documentation to confirm their identity and address, but unlike in past elections, the law now does not require all voters to provide photo ID to be able to vote in person.
Without further ado, here are the candidates running in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough and Pittsboro in the 2017 municipal elections.
Mayor: Pam Hemminger
Town Council (4 seats): Allen Buansi, Hongbin Gu, Ed Harrison, Maria Palmer, Rachel Schaevitz, Carl Schuler, Karen Stegman.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education (4 seats): James Barrett, Joal Broun, Ryan Brummond, Calvin Deutschbein, Amy Fowler,Kim Talikoff, Mary Ann Wolf
Mayor: Tom Stevens, Cindy Talisman.
Town Commissioners (2 seats): Kathleen Ferguson, Jennifer Weaver.
Mayor: Mike Benson, Lydia Lavelle.
Board of Aldermen (4 seats): Paul Clark, Barbara Foushee, Jacquelyn Gist, Randee Haven-O’Donnell, Sammy Slade.
Mayor: Cynthia Perry
Board of Commissioners (2 seats): Pamela Baldwin, Michael Fiocco, Alexander Kast, Cabell Regan.