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The Voice of the Black Community

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Confusion at polls during N.C. early voting
Voter ID, residency issues cause cofusion
 
Published Thursday, October 25, 2012 9:48 am
by Stephanie Carroll Carson, N.C. News Service

RALEIGH – More than 800,000 North Carolinians have already voted in the upcoming November election through early voting and absentee ballots – 12 percent of registered voters.


For many, heading to the polls seems more complicated this year, with changes in districts and the incorrect assumption that they need an ID in order to vote.


“Some people have been confused by the news and all of the requests for voter I.D. in other states,” said Marna Foss, a volunteer poll monitor for Common Cause North Carolina in Raleigh. “They're not quite sure whether or not North Carolina has gotten to that point yet.”


Unlike some other states, North Carolina has the same voting procedures as in 2008. In general, IDs are not required. A free hotline, 866-OUR-VOTE, is available for voters with questions or problems at the polls. Democracy North Carolina is helping to staff the hotline during early voting.


Shamus Brennan, a volunteer for the "Our Vote" hotline, said changes in residency are confusing for some who are trying to figure out their new polling place and what proof they need that they are in that district.


“Residence is a tricky question for a lot of people, especially students, people who are splitting time between a family and a job,” he said. “The few, more serious issues we've had have largely been communication issues.”


Supplying a utility bill, pay stub or government-issued ID are accepted ways to do same-day registration and early voting in North Carolina.
According to the State Board of Elections, of the ballots cast so far, 51 percent are by registered Democrats, 30 percent by Republicans, 18 percent are unaffiliated and less than 1 percent are Libertarian.

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