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Brunswick County residents have several options for voting in the May 6 primary, but election law changes have added specific requirements voters should be aware of.
The changes affect absentee voting, one-stop voting and polling places for in person voting on Election Day, Nov. 4.
In North Carolina primary elections, registered voters can only vote for their declared party.
In North Carolina, the officially recognized political parties are Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians, but Democrats and Republicans open their primaries to unaffiliated voters without changing the voters’ registration status from unaffiliated.
The primary election is held to nominate a candidate to represent a political party in the general election held later in the same year.
In the general election, registered voters may vote for candidates in any recognized party regardless of the voters’ declared party affiliation or non-affiliation.
The polls open for the primary election from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 6.
Election law changes
Based on the changes to the election law, voters who vote on Election Day must vote at the polling place for their correct precinct based on their residential address as of 30 days prior to the election.
The board of elections will not count provisional ballots for out-of-precinct voters.
Voting precincts can be determined by going to the Brunswick County website’s Board of Elections page, www.brunsco.net/Departments/GeneralGovernment/BoardofElections/PrecinctP...
Voters no longer need to provide a reason to vote absentee, and they can vote absentee in person via one-stop voting or by mail.
To vote absentee by mail, ballots must be requested using the State Absentee Request Form.
The voter, a qualified legal guardian or near relative — spouse, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepparent, or stepchild — can request an absentee ballot.
Absentee balloting materials are mailed to voters once ballots for an election are available. For most elections, ballots will be available 50 days prior to the date of the election.
Brunswick County Board of Elections Director Greg Bellamy said the first absentee ballots were sent out Monday, March 17.
The State Absentee Request Form and other requirements for mailing absentee ballots are available on the Brunswick County website, Brunsco.net, on the Board of Elections page.
Brunswick County Primary Election one-stop voting will be available at the Board of Elections Office and several satellite offices.
Voting at the Board of Elections office, 75 Stamp Act Drive NE, Building H, Bolivia, will begin from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday April 24 and Friday April 25.
The office will be closed Saturday, April 26, and Sunday, April 27.
One stop voting will resume from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, April 28, through Friday, May 2.
The office will be open for one stop voting from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 3.
One-Stop voting will also be available at satellite locations at:
• North Brunswick High School, 114 Scorpion Drive, Leland.
• Southport Senior Center, 1513 N. Howe St., Suite 2, Southport.
• National Guard Armory, 5050 Main St., Shallotte.
• South Brunswick Islands Center, 9400 Ocean Highway 17 W, Carolina Shores.
One stop voting will be available at the satellite locations from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, April 24 and Friday, April 25.
The satellite voting will also be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 26.
Satellite locations will close Sunday, April 27.
They will open again from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, April 28, through Wednesday, April 30.
Voting times expand from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 1 and Friday, May 2.
Satellite voting locations will open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 3.
The law changes have eliminated same-day registration during one-stop voting.
Voters must now be registered 25 days prior to an election — this year, by April 11 — to vote in the May 6 primary.
The changes also eliminated voter registration drives conducted by the County Board of Elections.
New election laws for 2016
The election law changes added a requirement to the 2016 election that voters must present a photo ID to vote in North Carolina.
During the 2014 election, residents who vote in person will be notified they will be required to show a photo ID when voting in person starting in 2016.
A list of acceptable forms of ID will be shown to voters.
If a voter does not have an acceptable photo ID, he or she will be asked to sign an Acknowledgement of No Photo ID and receive instructions on how to obtain a no-fee ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
DMV customers must bring proof of age and identity, Social Security number and proof of state residency.
All ID cards, including driver’s licenses, are mailed to customers, which may take up to 10 days.
Voters will have to allow time to receive their ID, because they will not be able to obtain it on Election Day in order to vote.
Brian Slattery is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or email@example.com.