Scotland elections official discusses avenues to vote

by Scott Witten - [email protected]

LAURINBURG — Scotland County voter have until the end of the day to register to vote in the March 15 primary.

Applications must be received by close of business on this day or postmarked with today’s date.

Those that miss today’s deadline can vote during the one-stop early voting period runs from March 3-12.

Current state law has eliminated same-day registration during the early voting period, but according to Dell Parker, director of the Scotland County Board of Elections, the “‘same-day registration’ process is currently permitted due to a preliminary injunction granted under a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The dates and times for early voting are: March 3 and 4 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; March 5 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.; March 7 and 8 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; March 9, 10 and 11 from 8a.m. to 6 p.m; and March 12 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Parker said same-day registration is not available on Election Day.

Voters this year will also encounter new photo identification rules for the first time. Acceptable forms of ID include:

— A driver’s license issued by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, including a learner’s permit or a provisional license. IDs that are four years out of date may still be used.

— A current passport issued by the United States.

— A veteran’s ID card issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. A veteran’s card with an expiration date must be unexpired. Those without an expiration date are also acceptable.

— A United States military ID card issued by the Department of Defense.

— A tribal ID card for a federally recognized tribe or a tribal ID card for a state-recognized tribe approved by the State Board of Elections.

— A driver’s license or identification card issued by another state or the District of Columbia. In order to use this card, the voter must have registered to vote 90 days or fewer prior to the election in question.

Still Parker said that there are ways for those without a valid photo ID to cast a ballot. Voters can declare they had a “reasonably impediment” to obtaining a photo ID. Those reasonable impediments include things such as not being able to get to the DMV to obtain an ID card or the inability to get off work during DMV hours. Those who vote citing a reasonable impediment will cast a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots are counted during the canvass in the week following the election.

“We don’t want anyone in Scotland County not to vote because they lack identification,” Parker said. “They will be allowed to vote, but it will be by provisional.”

Parker said provisional voters will to provide the required ID for that vote to count by noon on March 21.

She added that you will not need a form of ID, if you decide to vote with an absentee ballot.

Voters have until 5 p.m. March 8 to request an absentee ballot, which is typically a two-step process where voters first fill out a ballot request form and return it to the local board of elections. The board will then send back voting materials. When a voter casts his or her ballot by mail, he or she must either have two people sign as witnesses or have the form notarized. The voter can either mail the form back or hand-deliver it to the local board.

The form will also ask for the number from a state-issued ID or the last four digits of your Social Security number.

“Most people know their Social Security number, even if they don not have an ID,” Parker said. “It gives another option to be able to vote.”

Absentee ballots should be reutned to the Board of Electuions by 5 p.m. March 14 or postmarked by march 14 and returned no later than March 18.

Today is also the last day to change party affiliation.

by Scott Witten

[email protected]

Reach Scott Witten at 910-506-3023

Reach Scott Witten at 910-506-3023

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