The Transylvania Times -

To Be Safe, Register Now


As Patrick Gannon notes in his column today, the voting situation in North Carolina is very confusing and fluid. Two items are of particular immediate concern: same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting.

The 2013 voting law eliminated same-day registration, which had allowed people to register to vote and cast a provisional ballot on the same day during the early voting period. It also outlawed out-of-precinct voting, which allowed voters to cast a provisional ballot in another precinct in the county. The final day that people could register to vote would have been this Friday, Oct. 10.

Last week, however, the 4th Circuit District Court of Appeals stayed both of those provisions in the 2013 North Carolina voting law, thus reinstating for this upcoming election same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting.

But here’s the rub: the state has appealed that ruling from the 4th District to the U.S. Supreme Court. As of this writing, the Supreme Court has not made a decision one way or another. There is no telling when or what that decision could be. If the Supreme Court decides next week to reverse the Court of Appeals decision, then anyone who has not registered by this Friday will be unable to vote in this election.

Instead of assuming the Supreme Court either will not hear or not reverse the Court of Appeals ruling, potential voters should register by this Friday. That way, even if the Supreme Court reverses the stay, those who register by Friday will still be able to vote.

Local residents can check on their voting status, as well as their local voting precinct by going to the Transylvania County Board of Elections website. Click on “My Election Information.” Under My Voter Registration, click to view your current voter registration information. Type in your first, last and middle name and select Transylvania as the county. When the next screen comes up, click on your name.

A page will then appear on the screen with all your pertinent voter information: your address, county, status (active or inactive), voter registration number, and North Carolina ID number. It also names your polling place and the political jurisdictions in which you reside. For example, Transylvanians reside in the 11th Congressional District, 48th State Senate District, 113th State House District, etc. To find directions to your correct polling place, click on the polling place and it will provide the address. Click on the address to the polling place and a Google map will appear showing where the polling place is located.

For people who are not Internet savvy, they should either call the county Board of Elections at 884-3114 or stop by the Board of Elections office located at 221 South Gaston Street in Brevard. The offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Changes in voting laws can create uncertainty and confusion. That’s particularly true in this state where parts of the law have been successfully challenged and other parts will not be introduced until 2016 or 2018.

Voting is fundamental to democracy. Knowing the laws is integral in being able to use that fundamental right.


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