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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Voting by mail (Absentee Ballot) in North Carolina for the Nov 6 2018 general election

I've spent most of this past year canvassing. I meet a lot of people who are going to have trouble getting to the polls in November: the NC GOP has reduced the number of early voting sites and throttled the weekend hours many working class people use to vote. It was intentional, of course.

I also meet a lot of people who don't have cars, or who are ill, or who are the only caretaker for children or disabled family members or the elderly. If they can't get anybody to come spell them, they can't get to the polls.

Middle class people have trouble understanding that this can be an actual problem. For instance, in all of Nash County (which is very big) there are only TWO early voting sites.

So I've been telling people to vote by mail - in NC you don't need an excuse, anybody can get an absentee ballot. Another reason might be: if there is last-minute election hacking, your vote will already be safe.

I made a not-very-good video about it:

Please note that the NC Board of Elections REALLY wants to refer you to downloading stuff yourself. But a lot of people don't have the internet. So if you call the number, be sure to get a real human being and you can ask that human being to mail you a form.

I decided to request an absentee ballot for myself this year - for one thing, I want to see if it works, and for another, I'm probably going to be working for the election and not want to take the time to vote in those last important weeks.

You request a NC absentee ballot here: North Carolina Absentee Ballot Request Form
And by the way, if you also need to register to vote you can send in both forms at the same time. Here's where to download a NC Voter Registration Form to fill out.

It's sometimes hard to find the mailing address for the local county Board of Elections offices. I put them all here: I've just filled mine out and am sending it to the Orange County Board of Elections. Will keep you posted.

PS: After you've sent in this request form, they'll process it and at some point before the election you will receive your ballot in the mail. You'll have to have two witnesses sign it. Here is a video from the NC BOE itself about successfully filling out and mailing your absentee ballot: Civilian Absentee Voting in NC (turn down the terrible music).